Thousands Receive Holiday Meal Baskets in Miami

Gov. Scott helps distribute meals in Little Havana

By Betty Yu and Brian Hamacher
|  Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012  |  Updated 10:40 AM EDT
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Residents line up to receive free meal baskets in Little Havana. Juanita Alvarez discusses the giveaway.

Residents line up to receive free meal baskets in Little Havana. Juanita Alvarez discusses the giveaway.

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Hundreds Camp Out Overnight in Little Havana for Holiday Food Basket Vouchers

Camacol, the Latin Chamber of Commerce of the United States, will be distributing about 3,000 vouchers Wednesday morning so that families who need some help this holiday season can sit down to share a warm meal with their loved ones. Food baskets will be given to about 3,000 families with vouchers closer to Christmas. Zaida Fuentes said she's grateful for the help.
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott was in Miami Wednesday to help distribute Christmas food baskets to needy South Florida families.

Despite already having vouchers and a guaranteed meal, a massive line formed overnight outside the Little Havana offices of CAMACOL, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce.

Hundreds Camp Out for Food Basket Vouchers

Some said they had been waiting in line since Saturday to be among the first to get their meal basket.

"We got here during the day Saturday, we did a lot of rotations, I would stay at night and my people came during the day," said Juanita Alvarez, who was one of the first in line.

About 3,000 vouchers were given out earlier this month by CAMACOL to receive the baskets, which contain about $150 worth of food.

The baskets were distributed beginning at 9 a.m. Scott was joined by former Gov. Jeb Bush in handing out the food.

"It's really one of the great events in Miami, just in terms of a spirit of generosity, which is what the Christmas season should be about," Bush said.

"We have something tragic that happened in Connecticut this week with these families that lost their loved ones, these children, and the adults and teachers, and your heart goes out to all of them, but this is what America is and clearly this is what Florida is about we take care of each other," Scott said.

"It will be great because Christmas Eve or Christmas Day I will cook this meal for my family and my friends too and everybody's grateful," Alvarez said.

Brittany Garcia, 17, waited in line with her family. She also expressed gratitude for the meal.

"It gives me some security that I'll have food on the table at Christmastime," Garcia said.

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