Miami mayor starts weekly grocery gift card give away at Regatta Park

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.

Miami starts grocery-gift card distribution at Regatta Park

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.

City’s announcement

City of Miami (City of Miami)
City of Miami (City of Miami)

Related links

About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

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.