WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - The pandemic is making it hard for many families to have their basic needs met, and South Florida cities are stepping up to help.

In the midst of COVID, many people remain unemployed and are unable to buy food and pay rent.

City officials in Miami-Dade and Broward counties received an allocation to distribute Publix gift cards.

“I really need it. It’s very hard,” one woman said.

“It’s all worth it because I really need it,” another woman said.

At Roberto Clemente Park in Miami, residents lined up as early as 4 a.m. on Thursday to receive $250 gift cards toward groceries.

At Little Haiti Soccer Park, very long lines also formed early Thursday morning, even before the sun was out. Some people were forced to return after the gift cards ran out the day before.

“I got way down to the end down there, and I was about to go up, and they said ‘You got to come back tomorrow,'” a man said.

The lines also formed early Friday morning. Some residents were in line as early as the night before the scheduled event.

The man at the front of the line said he had been there since 11 p.m., Thursday.

He said he tried getting a gift card for three days and had no luck so he didn’t want to take any chances.

Others said they really need the gift card and have no problem sitting or standing in line for as long as it takes.

“‘Cause I want to be in line and make sure I get me some Publix, something for my grandkids,” recipient Karen Smith said.

7SkyForce hovered over Lauderdale Lakes City Hall where drivers lined up early to receive their gift cards.

“We’ve been in line since 8:24 a.m. This is necessary,” a recipient said.

“I wasn’t working now, so I just wanted to get some help,” said a second recipient.

“I came back here, I was right to that sign, so I wasn’t too far from where I was yesterday,” said a third recipient. “It’s just how it’s going right now, man. I guess, for $250, you got to get what you got to get out of it, you know what I mean?”

Officials at Roberto Clemente Park said they have about 70 gift cards to distribute every day, seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m.

Cards are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until they run out.

Feeding South Florida will be hosting a free drive-thru grocery giveaway at Tamiami Park in West Miami-Dade from 9 to 11 a.m. on Friday.

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