MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - The Food for Florida Event being held at Hard Rock Stadium has reached full capacity, Wednesday afternoon, as hundreds of people lined up to receive food assistance.
Thousands of people lined up at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami-Dade and the BB&T Center in Broward in search of relief after suffering losses in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
The Florida Department of Children and Families organized the event, being held Tuesday through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., to hand out emergency food stamps as part of the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program.
“Everything is good, everything is good,” said a man in Spanish as he walked out of the stadium, pre-loaded access card in hand.
During the event, a woman required emergency medical care.
“One person in the household can come and represent the whole family, bring all the information about the family members,” said DCF spokesperson Gilda Ferradaz. “Therefore, we could be be able to cut the number of people in the lines and [help avoid] those kinds of incidents. Although, as you can see, we have golf carts, we have wheelchairs, we have ice and water. [We’re] trying to keep the people as comfortable as possible.”
Recipients said the line moved smoothly, considering the number of people at the Miami Gardens venue.
However, just before 2:30 p.m., officials closed the lines at Hard Rock Stadium after they reached capacity. Officials said those already in line will be helped, but anyone else will be asked to come back Thursday.
Irma took a toll on Miami-Dade families when it blew through South Florida in late September. “As I have to try to feed four people, and all my food has done spoiled,” said Miami-Dade resident Dolly Leverson.
More than 22,000 people stood in line at Hard Rock Stadium on Tuesday.
7News cameras also captured long lines at the BB&T Center on Wednesday, as people showed up early in an effort to avoid a lengthy wait.
“The wait’s not bad. It’s peen going pretty good,” said Broward resident Robert Munday. “People have been real nice.”
The overall consensus about how DCF handled the process stands in stark contrast with D-SNAP distributions in October. Residents who showed up at four assistance centers in Miami-Dade and Broward waited for hours under sweltering conditions.
This time, officials said, they have taken steps to ease the burden. For example, DCF has assigned specific days based on a person’s last name:
– Tuesday: A-F
– Wednesday: G-P
– Thursday: Q-Z
“It’s much appreciated,” said Broward resident Cody Munday. “We had all our food in our refrigerator go bad when we had the power out for a few days.”
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.
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