South Florida Drive-Thru Food Distribution Sites Leave Out Some Who Need Them Most

Almost all locations across South Florida holding food distributions are drive-thru only, rules that put those without a car at risk of going hungry

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The weekly food distributions at Marlins Park in Little Havana have cars lining up for blocks - and on the sidewalk, a growing crowd of personal shopping carts, reusable bags and the will to try again

Ismelda Rodrigurz lives in the neighborhood and by now, she’s become accustomed to refusal - but she tries every week

“I don’t have a car,” she says. “We don’t have work, we don’t have anything.”

Rodriguez cleans inside buildings, but hasn’t been able to keep and maintain work during the pandemic. Like so many others, she’s been hit hard financially.

Just like nearly every other location across South Florida holding food distributions, Marlins Park is drive-thru only. Rules like that put those without a car at risk of going hungry.

“I don’t have a car so I can’t eat? I don’t have money to pay my rent,” said one man at the site who had been working construction before the pandemic and now there’s no work.

Farm Share provides the food and requires drive-thru to protect volunteers and workers from COVID-19. NBC 6 watched as they refused to give to those on the sidewalk.

Most food distributions are drive-thru only, and the poorest of the poor don’t have vehicles. One walk-up site in Little Havana provided needed relief for some families. NBC 6's Stephanie Bertini reports.

“It’s going to be a combination of things and sometimes my office will partner with organization that has families with no car,” Miami-Dade county commissioner Eileen Higgins said, adding they will be opening a walk-up site Thursday at the Salvation Army.

The area borders Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami, where the mayor knows all about the problem.

“They are no better or worse,” Mayor Francis Suarez said. “Some of the cars that drive through I couldn’t afford. It’s offensive to them for sure. There’s no perfect scenario - we are doing the best we can.”

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