The people sitting in line Wednesday morning near the entrance of Miami city commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s office in Flagami arrived hours before the event’s 10 a.m. start time, patiently waiting for gift cards which can be used at a wide array of businesses throughout the area.
As opposed to previous gift card giveaways distributed by Miami city leaders, this one is not tied to specific chain retailers. Instead, they can be used at 'mom and pop stores' as well.
The initiative is twofold: it helps residents of Miami’s District 1 obtain essential goods they may be lacking due to the financial struggles brought on by the pandemic - while allowing those residents to support small businesses in the area.
“With this card, we can purchase medicines and food. More so tomorrow, which is the last day of the year and we like to make a New Year’s eve dinner,” says Maria del Pilar Rios, a Miami resident.
The $100 Mastercard gift cards will be coded specifically so that they can only be used in supermarkets and drugstores.
The distribution will go on until 10 p.m. and spokesperson Karla Fortuni says they are sure they have enough for everyone in the district who qualifies.
“The purpose today is not to turn anyone away if they are from District 1 and if they have not received the card already,” explains Fortuni.
Meanwhile, residents who show proof of residency say they are grateful for whatever help they can get including the stimulus check from the federal government.
“We hope that eventually our president’s wishes that it be increased to two thousand will be fulfilled, but if it’s six hundred, that will be appreciated too,” says Rios.