MIAMI – Maria Pelleya said she recently lost her job to the coronavirus recession. She woke up early on Tuesday to line up to receive a gift card for $250 in groceries from the city of Miami, but she left empty-handed.
It was cold at Regatta Park, 3500 Pan American Dr., in Coconut Grove. There were more than 500 people in line, including mothers with their children.
“This could have so easily been done online,” Pelleya said.
The long line at the event is a reflection of the state of the local economy in Miami, and the limited resources that local officials have available to help families deal with the rising hunger and food insecurity.
“If you come out here you will see there really is a need in our community and people really, really are suffering,” Oscar Thomas, said adding he too had lost his job during the pandemic.
Thomas benefitted from Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s 500 grocery cards giveaway on Tuesday. City officials wrote down the names of the people who didn’t get a card this Tuesday, so they will be able to get one next week.
Pelleya will have to come back next Tuesday. The need for help prompted local mayors to ask Miami-Dade County for more CARES Act funding.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., a bipartisan group of lawmakers put pressure on congressional leaders to accept a solution to the months-long impasse on COVID-19 relief.
For more information about Miami’s grocery gift card program, visit the city’s site.
Long lines at @CityofMiami Grocery Gift Card distribution events reminiscent of what we have witnessed at food distribution sites during the pandemic. 👇 pics from this morning’s District 4 Grocery Gift Card event - first person in line per @Manolo4Miami office arrived at 3:45am. https://t.co/V7CscJ0s0v pic.twitter.com/RxqTaUBdH0— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) December 1, 2020