Florida City food giveaway draws thousands of cars

New York Jets linebacker, State Rep. help distribute groceries, much donated by farmers

FLORIDA CITY, Fla. – The need for food in Florida City, as well as other parts of South Florida, is so great that people at Saint Matthews Holiness Church started lining up as early as 5:30 a.m. That was even earlier than many of the organizers of the event arrived.

New York Jets linebacker James Burgess, a Florida City native, was among the people giving out bags of chicken, bread, orange juice and other food items at the church at 1238 NW 9th Ave.

Farm Share provided the food at the drive-up distribution, much of which was donated by farmers.

[Check Farm Share’s Upcoming Distributions Calendar]

“We’re giving back to the community,” said Burgess. “A lot of grocery stories are running out of groceries and people can’t afford groceries because of job closures.”

Florida city native and New York Jets linebacker James Burgess helped distribute food at a local church to people in need due to the coronavirus epidemic. (WPLG)

Senior citizen Henry McCowan waited in the line as long as it took because he said he wanted to avoid going to the grocery store overs fears of being exposed to the coronavirus and because he needs assistance.

“I came out here because what’s going on with the virus. Yeah, we need help," said McCowan.

Many people in line said they were struggling to pay their bills because of the epidemic.

Joyce Hood, a full-time school worker who hasn’t been on the job since school buildings shut down in March, was also waiting in line. “It’s good that people are able to have something to eat during this epidemic.”

State Rep. Kionne L. McGhee, (D-117th district) said he saw the line stretching over to the city of Homestead.

"You're seeing thousands of cars lined up. That's how much the need is," said McGhee.

Organizers were prepared to hand out about 1,000 meals. McGhee said he expected the grocery giveaway to continue until 1 p.m. Thursday.

For those who are disabled or senior citizens who can’t drive to the event, organizers said dial 311 from your telephone and Miami-Dade County can arrange for the food to be delivered to your home.