Thousands Obtain Food Basket Giveaway Vouchers

Thousands of people, some who had been camped out for days, obtained their "golden tickets" for the annual holiday food basket giveaway sponsored by CAMACOL.

Every year, CAMACOL gives away 3,000 holiday gift baskets. Wednesday was the voucher giveaway, but as early as Monday evening, the line for just the tickets was already around the block in Little Havana.

"I've been here since Thursday morning, Thanksgiving Day," said Letty Rojas, who was first in line but still has two days to go. She said the annual giveaway is worth the wait.

"It's very appreciated by all of us in the community," said Juanita Alvarez.

Dozens showed up early so they can get their hands on one of the coveted 3,000 tickets at Wednesday's distribution. The tickets were handed out on a first come, first serve basis.

"The economy is really, really low lately and the food stamps went down," Alvarez said.

Most use the items in the basket to make a Christmas meal. Some said they can feed up to four people, while in the past, others have managed to pull off a dinner for 22.

Although it's the first time in line for a few in the crowd, the CAMACOL ticket giveaway has become a holiday tradition for the majority who have it down to a science.

"I have people coming at night and then I go home to be with my son," said Lisa Portillo.

"We do rotation, because my other number one person, she goes to sleep and then I stay," Alvarez said.

The basket giveaway will be Dec. 16.

It is limited to one ticket per person, per family. Participants must be an adult and present a valid identification card and Social Security card to be eligible.

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