MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – As anticipated, there was another long line of cars Friday morning outside the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens as people picked up paperwork to apply for unemployment.
Joanne Bullock spoke to Local 10 News Thursday as she turned her application in -- the next step many Americans are taking as they search for a paycheck.
“I’ve been trying unemployment online but I couldn’t get through. Then I did get through, but it blocked me,” she said.
The financial strain felt by Bullock is just a glimpse of what millions are experiencing nationwide.
Nearly 170,000 people in Florida lost their jobs last week with another 6.6 million nationwide.
More than 16 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month.
With the reality of no work, no money and no food setting in, food distribution sites across South Florida are now essential for some families.
One food line in Miami Gardens this week stretched a mile long with many waiting for hours for handouts they have never depended on before
“This is out of the blue. I am thankful for it,” one man said.
“People have to swallow their pride, especially the senior citizens. They don't want you to know they don't have anything in their refrigerator,” one woman said.
With shutdowns remaining in place across South Florida there is no telling how long families’ livelihoods will be spread thin. Even those providing much needed services to residents worry how long they will be able to keep up distribution sites.
“I am worried, pastors are worried -- everyone that tries to reach out and help families are always worried about where you are going to get your next meal,” Miramar Vice Mayor Maxwell Chambers said.
Over in southwest Miami-Dade, people lined up as early as 3 a.m. Friday to pick up food packages.
The cars snaked around the parking lot of the King Jesus Ministry International church on Southwest 144th Avenue.
Florida State Sen. Annette Taddeo and Florida House Rep. Anthony Rodriguez helped organize the event.
Feeding South Florida is providing all the food, which came from donations.
The food includes arugula, green beans, mangoes, cereal and bananas.
Local 10 News reporter Madeleine Wright talked to one man who was the second in line.
“I’m not working for two week. You know, I am inside, inside in my house. Today, I exited my house from two weeks,” Mario Mayorga said. “My income in the week is $700. I lost that. No have money. No have nothing. I need food.”
Organizers said they already handed out 750 vouchers, one for each person who showed up.