MIAMI – The city of Miami gave out 600 Publix gift cards Tuesday morning at West End Park to residents in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Each gift card was worth $250.
People lined up as early as 3 a.m. for the event that started at 8 a.m.
This is the fifth and final grocery card giveaway this month that the city of Miami has hosted to offset the hardship and food insecurity caused by the pandemic.
One person who spoke with Local 10 News said he showed up to one of the previous giveaways, but unfortunately, all the cards were gone, so he showed up early this time to secure his place in line.
“Oh, I feel great. I feel great,” Army veteran James Evans said after receiving his gift card. “It’s a wonderful thing. Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus. It’s a beautiful thing.”
All the funding for the gift cards came from the stimulus bill known as the CARES Act, which President Donald Trump signed back in March.
“Can’t pay my loans, behind on my bills, and it’s just a struggle,” Evans said.
Instead of making people wait in one big line, organizers gave everyone who showed up a ticket with a letter and a number on them, and then directed them to designated areas so they could sit and wait for their group to be called.
“My mom didn’t have a job when the shutdown happened because my mom works in a daycare, and I also lost my job,” one recipient, Emerio Mendez, said.
All residents were required to fill out an application in order to receive one of the gift cards.
The mayor’s office says if more funding becomes available, it will host more giveaways next year.