Several gift card giveaways being held across Miami-Dade County

(WSVN) - Several South Florida communities continue to get help this holiday season.

Instead of its typical New Year’s Eve event, the Miami Children’s Museum hosted a drive-thru food distribution Wednesday.

“Things are different this year, and the needs of our community are very different,” said Deborah Spiegelman, the CEO of the Miami Children’s Museum.

The first 500 families to drive through were given groceries and a kit to help make celebrations a bit more memorable.

“We got all kinds of party favors,” said Spiegelman, “and we also partnered with another group, Hasbro Toys, and each family is getting a board game.”

Another distribution of groceries and gift cards happened outside of a Miami church and was put together by District 5 Commissioner Jeffrey Watson.

Theresa Smith showed up at the distribution and said, “We need the card because I have a car full of grandkids.”

“I’m really out here trying to help two of my senior neighbors,” Jacqueline Oliphant said. “Within my block, we’re like a knitted neighborhood, and we look out for each other.”

Miami residents in District 1 and District 3 were also able to pick up gift cards, courtesy of their commissioners.

“It’s a need,” said one woman, “and it’s a want, and it’s an opportunity to get my need fulfilled with the help that they’re providing here at the commissioner’s office.”

The money for these gift cards comes from the federal CARES Act.

“We not only have a health crisis, but we also have an economic crisis,” said Miami Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla, “so we’re doing a little bit on our part here in the City of Miami to make sure that people receive a $100 gift card that they can use for medicine, to go to the supermarket, to pay utilities.”

South Floridians who need assistance are urged to contact their commissioners’ offices to find out information on gift card and food giveaways.

“I think we have a lot of people that feel like they want to help,” said City of Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina. “There’s a lot of people that see people suffering, see people lose their jobs, lose their businesses, people that have become ill, and you have that feeling of helplessness, and you want to do something for your neighbor.”

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