MIAMI (WSVN) - The City of Miami continues to provide some relief for its residents during the holidays by distributing Publix gift cards worth $250.
Long lines formed outside Jose Marti Park, 351 SW 4th Ave., early Tuesday morning.
The event is the fourth out of five distribution events being held by City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
At previous events, some people started lining up as early as the night, and sometimes the afternoon, before.
“We stayed in the car since 7 last night,” one woman said. “I have been here. I had to sleep in my car because I need this.”
City of Miami Police, however, were turning people away who tried lining up hours ahead of the start time in an effort to enforce the city’s curfew.
The line began forming as early as 4:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. event.
“I’m gonna hit the grocery store immediately to prepare myself and my family for the holidays,” said Joey Bryant.
William Ross said he tried to form the line at 3 p.m. on Monday to ensure he would receive a gift card.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “I was in the hospital a couple of weeks, a few months back, and I’m behind on a few little things, so it will help a lot. Also, we can give too, so what I get, I help others.”
“I tried three or four times, and I failed, so I had to come early enough to make sure that I got a place in line to get in,” said another Miami resident.
Another Miami resident heard what officers were telling one woman who tried to wait in line on Monday.
“They asked her to please stay in your car or go home,” she said, “so we stayed in the car since 7 [p.m.] last night. I have a bad leg, but I slept like that. I stayed in the car ’cause I need this.”
Some residents said the gift cards will help in many ways, especially during the holidays.
“It’s pretty frightening,” one woman said. “It’s been a struggle.”
Those who wish to receive a gift card are required to sign an affidavit swearing that they are facing hardship due to the pandemic.
Only City of Miami residents are eligible and only one gift card is awarded per household.
Suarez announced that two small businesses, Advanced Medical Treatment Center and Diaz Law, made special donations of a combined $15,000 to ensure more gift cards could be distributed.
Long lines were also seen in Miami Beach where 1,000 residents received a $100 Publix gift card.
“Any little bit helps,” one woman said.
“I wish I could say I was amazed,” said Chief of Staff for Miami Beach City Manager Marcia Monserrat. “Unfortunately, I’m not. We’ve been seeing these types of lines throughout our food distributions in the city that we started early in March.”
The next gift card distribution in Miami is set for Dec. 29 at West-End Park.
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