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Miami residents wait hours for grocery gift cards, highlighting COVID-19 struggle

MIAMI – Pierre Cassues had been sitting outside on a crate since 11 p.m. Thursday for the Friday morning food voucher giveaway at the community center in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.

“Today I made sure I came in early,” he said. “I slept here to make sure I’m the first one today.”

Cassues was one of many who were turned away Wednesday because of long lines for the $250 Publix gift cards the city is distributing to those in need through funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Similar federal money has been coming into other areas of South Florida to provide some relief for those struggling during the pandemic.

On Thursday morning, cars stretched down streets and people piled on top of one another to get food vouchers in Lauderhill.

“Do you know how many people I know that don’t have food?” Rosemary Vaz said. “They have nothing in their homes. Nothing, absolutely nothing.”

People like Cassues say the hours of time waiting are worth it in order to have food for his family.

“It means something to me I can go to Publix to buy some food and stuff so I can eat with my family,” he said.


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