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City Of Hialeah Hands Out 5,000 Grocery Gift Cards To Residents In Need

HIALEAH (CBSMiami) -- The City of Hialeah distributed five thousand grocery gift cards on Friday.

Each card is worth $250 and they arrived under heavy security in a police vehicle.

"We've been waiting here since 5:30 in the afternoon," said Rosario Guerra who was first in line. She said her family needs that $250 grocery gift card.

"Thank you to everyone. If we're here it's because we need the help. We got children in the house and we don't have jobs at this moment," she said.

The gift cards were distributed at Hialeah Park Racing and Casino starting at 8:00 a.m. in a socially-distanced drive-through line.

"We cannot forget, we hit 13,000 cases yesterday. So we're at the peak of this thing. We cannot forget that. We've done everything to make this as efficient and safe for our residents," said Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez.

Only residents of Hialeah who have faced financial hardship in 2020 due to COVID-19 are eligible to receive one.

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They are only redeemable at the grocery stores indicated on the face of the card, Fresco Y Mas or Sedano's Supermarket.

While people waited in line, city crews checked on them to make sure they were okay and their applications were filled out properly.

"It's better this way, everybody's safe inside the car nobody, you don't have to be in contact with everybody," said resident Juan Padron.

City leaders say they're frustrated that it took so long to get the federal relief money to fund this.  It's being doled out by the County.

"The city's received these COVID Act funds from the County a few days ago.  We had so little time to be able to really do a lot of what we wanted to do.  This is one of them," said Mayor Hernandez.

Meanwhile, Miami Beach will distribute a thousand $100 grocery gift cards to eligible residents on Tuesday.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said it's just a bandaid because the US Congress is taking so long to pass a relief bill.

"Really, what I wanted to do today, and I hope my colleagues join in, is to tell the US Congress to get off their ass and get this bill done. It's amazing to me that people have to wait in line for food."

In Overtown, 300 lucky children are feeling the holiday spirit with toys and presents, as Alonso Mourning and the Mourning Family Foundation are spreading holiday cheer, in what's been, a very difficult year.

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