Final day to receive food assistance in South Florida

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - The Food for Florida Event at the Hard Rock Stadium opened its doors nearly an hour and half early Thursday for its final day of handing out emergency food stamps as part of the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program.

Hurricane Irma took a toll on thousands of Miami-Dade County families, and for the past three days some have waited in line for hours at Hard Rock Stadium in hopes of receiving some assistance.

The Department of Children and Families organized a three-day event to hand out emergency food stamps.

“My kitchen got flooded, my electricity was out, so I lost a lot of food,” said Tyrone Taswell.

“Because I had to try to feed four people and all of my food had done spoiled,” said Dolly Leverson.

The need for food assistance has been so overwhelming that anyone not in line inside the stadium before 2 p.m., Wednesday, were told to come back Thursday.

The facility had reached capacity with the line stretching down the road. That’s where one woman needed emergency medical care.

“One person in the household can come and represent the whole family,” said Gilda Ferradaz, with DCF. “Bring all the information about all of the family members, and therefore we’d be able to cut down the number of people in the lines and those kind of incidents. Although, as you see, we have golf carts, we have wheelchairs, we have ice and water trying to keep the people as comfortable as possible.”

At the BB&T Center in Sunrise, the relief mega site in Broward County, also experienced long lines. Plenty of people arrived early trying to avoid a lengthy wait.

“The wait is not bad,” said Robert Munday. “It’s been going really good. People have been very nice.”

Unlike last month’s event, officials said they have not heard any complaints about the process.

Thousands of people showed up at the four assistance centers at Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, so this time around, DCF said they took steps to ease the burden.

Residents were only allowed to show up on their assigned days, which were based on a person’s last name.

“Yeah, I got the card in my wallet,” said one person who waited in line. “It’s $709, and it was easy.”

Thursday was set aside for people with the last names beginning with Q-Z, but DCF representatives said they will not be turning anyone away who qualifies, as they want to help everyone in need.

Officials recommend residents pre-register online and that they bring identification, their Social Security number and date of birth of everyone in their household.

To pre-register online for the Food for Florida program, go to www.myflfamilies.com/fff.

Both locations will be open Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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