HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - The City of Hialeah is helping families that are facing a hard time due to the pandemic.

Residents gathered at the Hialeah Park Racing & Casino, located at 100 E 32nd St., early Friday morning.

7SkyForce HD hovered over the park where hundreds of vehicles could be seen lined up.

At 8 a.m., the city began distributing 5,000 gift cards, valued at $250 each.

“There’s a lot of people with no job, and I think this is very good for everybody that needs it,” said Sandro Morales who was waiting in line.

To receive a gift card, Hialeah residents were asked to pick up and complete an application beforehand.

“I lost my job. I have two kids,” said Mary Perez as she waited in line. “It’s been very difficult for me. It’s been nine months that I don’t work.”

“It’s frustrating, because the need is so great,” said Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez. “We’ve been seeing that for a long time.”

Hernandez said they only had a few days to put the drive-thru event together.

While he’s glad the funds are available now, he said he wished the CARES Act funding distributed by the county would have come in sooner.

“Finally, the city is getting a piece of that pie so late into the game,” he said.

For many residents, they said this money arrives right on time with Christmas just days away.

“Hopefully, we have a change in the new year,” Morales said.

They were also asked to bring their photo identification as well as a copy of it.

The gift cards will be valid at either Fresco Y Mas or Sedano’s Supermarket.

The city has handed out 3,000 gift cards as of noon on Friday. Residents are encouraged to visit the park to receive the remaining 2,000.

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