By Deborah Souverain

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Hundreds of people waited in their vehicles in hopes to receive one of 500 baskets that were given away at this year’s CAMACOL Food Giveaway.

“We are happy to be able to feed 500 families,” said Pedro Mesa, Supervisor of Sedano’s, and Chairperson of CAMACOL.

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Several sponsors came together for the event including, Sedano’s Supermarkets, Publix, Goya, Coca Cola Beverages, and City of Miami Police, to name a few. Some participants began lining up for Wednesday’s Food Drive as early as Tuesday afternoon.

“Maybe people say ‘oh my God! All night!’ but no, it’s not that bad,” said Juanita Alvarez, who has participated in the event for 15 years.

The Latin American Chamber of Commerce’s annual Noche Buena holiday food basket drive started Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the CAMACOL Building on 14th and Flagler. This year’s drive-through only event wrapped up shortly after 11 a.m.

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“It’s been tough because not only has the need increased but at the same time the supply has constricted because of the supply chain situation, that is being experienced around the world,” said Joe Chi, President of CAMACOL.

The more than 30-year tradition, has always provided upwards to 3,000 food gift baskets; however, due to the pandemic and supply chain disruptions CAMACOL had to cut back the number of food baskets by 83%.

“The companies are having problems with the [supply] chain, said Mesa. “The products don’t get to the stores, employees, the price of gasoline, [etc]. So there are a lot of factors that have been hard for us,” he added.

The gift baskets were given to families in need on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Recipients received a Jabas food basket filled with a complete “Latin-style” holiday dinner that can feed a family of 5-6 people for Christmas and New Year’s.

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“We are humbled to be part of this amazing community, and are grateful to be able to provide support when it is most needed,” Pedro Mesa, Chair CAMACOL Jabas Committee.

Deborah Souverain