Irma relief program causes long lines across Miami-Dade, Broward counties

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Hundreds of families lined up at South Florida parks as organizations continue to offer relief for Irma victims.

“I pay taxes, and I appreciate, you know, Florida reaching out to help us,” said a Broward County resident.

7Skyforce HD flew over one food distribution center at the Miami-Dade College North Campus, where the line stretched for several miles. Organizations will continue to provide relief through the weekend for those who lost food due to power outages.

The Florida Department of Children and Families and United States Department of Agriculture partnered to create the “Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program.”

At the MDC North Campus, people waited in line for hours to register and obtain an access card with funds used for food.

“We’re trying to get back on our feet here,” said one man.

“We need the money to feed the kids,” said Miami-Dade resident Eugenie Noel. “We need the money.”

“I lost work for a couple of days,” said Miami-Dade resident Betty de los Santos, “so you need to put all that stuff back, and I had to throw everything out.”

“Don’t have no food to eat ’cause we gone seven days without no light,” said Miami-Dade resident Raphael Manette. “That’s why we don’t have no food.”

“Lost power for about two weeks and food in my house,” said Miami-Dade resident Lamar McMullen, “so it’s actually a blessing that we’re getting free food like this.”

In Broward County, some locations, like C.B. Smith Park, have begun to host the same registration event. Traffic in the area has even been affected due to the long lines.

“Took off from work. I’ve been here a little over an hour,” said Broward County resident Alexis. “We’re outside, it’s been raining, so it’s a huge inconvenience.”

To qualify, those registering must be either a resident of Miami-Dade or Broward counties, and they cannot already be on a food assistance program.

“Most people call it food stamps, but for people who don’t regularly qualify for food stamps, so they make a little bit more money,” said DCF Communications Director Beatriz Lopez.

While the sites technically close at 6 p.m., access to the line at the MDC North Campus was cut off at 3 p.m.

According to DCF, they were forced to close early because of the large amount of people showing up. Police ordered they shut down the lines at 3 p.m. in order to be able to process everyone.

There are reports that people are lining up to wait overnight. Everyone who is in line by 3 p.m. will be processed.

The sites will be open until Sunday.

There are several sites in South Florida:

Miami-Dade

Tropical Park, 7900 S.W. 40th St.
Miami-Dade College North Campus, 11380 N.W. 27th Ave.
South Dade Government Center, 10710 S.W. 211th St.
Amelia Earhart Park, 451 E. 56th St.

Broward

C.B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Road
Central Broward Regional Park, 3801 W. Sunrise Blvd.
Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Road

For a further list of locations, click here.

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