Families line up early for annual holiday food basket distribution in Little Havana

Families in need lined up early Wednesday morning in hoping of getting one of 500 food baskets that were being passed out in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

MIAMI – Families lined up early Wednesday morning for Camacol’s annual holiday basket distribution in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

Food will be distributed this year on a first-come, first-served basis.

About 30 minutes before the event even kicked off, the long line of cars stretched back for blocks.

For anyone who’s not familiar with Camacol and their annual giveaway, this is a huge holiday tradition in Little Havana and is put on by the Latin Chamber of Commerce, which helps hundreds of needy families receive food supplies, making sure they’re able to have a warm meal on their table for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, you would normally see people lining up on foot as they wait along the sidewalk.

But just like last year, this year’s giveaway will strictly be a drive-thru only event, meaning anyone who goes there to receive help will need to be in a vehicle.

Organizers say they want to make sure everyone stays safe, and is able to socially distance.

Another change is that this year, only 500 food baskets will be handed out compared to the normal 3,000 baskets. That change is due to some lingering issues with the supply chain crisis.

“They don’t have products. A lot of the companies are having problems with the chain. The products don’t get to the stores -- employees, the price on gasoline. So there’s a lot of factors that have been hard for us,” Camacol Chairperson Pedro Mesa said.

Mesa said canceling the event that so many people rely on was never an option.

“The thing of not having it, it was never in our minds. We have to have it,” he said. “We were hoping we would be able to do the thousand bags that we did last year. But again, the sponsors were not there.”

Juanita Alvarez, who’s been coming out to the event for the last 15 years, told Local 10 News she got in line at 6 p.m. Tuesday just to make sure she would get her holiday meal.

“Even if it’s less this year, you know, whatever it is, it helps out,” Alvarez said. “Because the situation is really low, and it will help out.”

About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.