Coronavirus recession in Miami’s Overtown: ‘People still need food’

MIAMI – Amid the coronavirus recession, hunger is now threatening many more families in Miami.

Charles Lee volunteered to load grocery bags into cars during a food giveaway event on Wednesday at Gibson Park in Overtown. He said part of the job included listening to stories of financial devastation.

“I heard one lady say this will help her tremendously because she only had like $20 left and this will balance the budget and the kids could eat tonight and for a couple of nights,” Lee said.

The volunteers, who also included NBA legend Alonzo Mourning and Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez, helped to distribute groceries to about 100 drivers outside of the public park’s Overtown Youth Center.

Mourning, better known to Overtown residents as Miami Heat’s “ZO,” partnered with Farm Share, a food bank that collects donations from local farmers.

Luis Dickson a community distribution coordinator for Farm Share, said the punitive economic effects of the pandemic have increased the demand for food banks. This is while food prices have increased.

Researchers with The Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative within the Brookings Institution, found the rate of households with children that did not have enough to eat was “substantially higher” than the rate observed in 2008 at the trough of the last recession.

“People still don’t have jobs,” Dickson said. “People still need food and that’s why we are out here.”

For more information about food distribution events and about how to contribute to ongoing efforts, visit the Farm Share site.

About the Authors:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.