Camacol hosts annual holiday food distribution drive

MIAMI (WSVN) - South Floridians lined up and received a little help this winter for a hearty holiday meal.

The early birds were waiting in line for more than a week along West Flagler Street and 14th Avenue in Little Havana for the Camacol holiday food ticket distribution that began Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. The line stretched around the block and, every year, Juanita Alvarez is first in line.

“This is my 10th year, thank God,” Alvarez said. “I made it, after 10 days being in line, I made it!

Alvarez held her voucher high with a wide smile on her face. “This is my ticket,” she said. “I can come back Dec. 14th to get my basket.”

The first 3,000 people in line on Wednesday will get a voucher to come back on Dec. 14, which is good for a basket full of all the fixings needed for their holiday meal. One basket will be enough to feed 10 people. “That day is going to be wonderful,” said Alvarez. “I’m expecting to receive all different kinds of items to cook for my family.”

“We’ve been here since November the 20th, it’s been ten days tomorrow,” Alvarez said. “You know it sounds hard, but it’s not that bad.”

Every year the Latin Chamber of Commerce hands out rice, beans, yucca, bread, sugar, spices and a pork shoulder. The baskets at Camacol’s 31st annual basket distribution drive are worth about $150.

“I got here around, give or take, 5 o’clock,” Gloria Aparico said. “Right now I’m not working. I am disabled and it’s hard for me, even for Christmas, for my grand kids, and this will help me a lot.”

Waiting in line has become a tradition for many in line, forming a community with others camped out.

“Every year, another person, and we share. They bring food, they bring coffee,” Alvarez said. “I mean we really don’t have to go home and cook. By the time we get out of here tomorrow, I’ve gained like five pounds.”

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