Thou­sands flock­ing to food-aid pro­gram

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - By Doug Phillips and Juan Ortega Staff writ­ers

A pro­gram that helps some South Florid­i­ans cover food losses af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma is see­ing high de­mand, draw­ing thou­sands.

For those who qual­ify, the pro­gram pro­vides cards that can be re­deemed for food at most gro­cery stores.

The Flor­ida Dis­as­ter Food As­sis­tance Pro­gram be­gan Wed­nes­day at seven sites in Broward and Mi­ami-Dade coun­ties and con­tin­ues through Sun­day. In Palm Beach County, three sites will open from Tues­day through Oct. 21.

“It’s go­ing re­ally well,” Paige Pat­ter­son-Hughes, a spokes­woman for the state Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies, said Thurs­day. DCF is ad­min­is­ter­ing the pro­gram run by the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

Thurs­day, peo­ple driv­ing any­where near one of the pro­gram sites, C.B. Smith Park in Pem­broke Pines, were en­coun­ter­ing grid­lock. Po­lice were in­ter­mit­tently clos­ing the park en­trance to con­trol traf­fic.

Broward Parks and Recre­ation Di­rec­tor Dan West said the crowds were ex­pected. A large turnout has been seen in other parts of the state where the pro­gram was of­fered. Wed­nes­day at Quiet Wa­ters Park in Deer­field Beach, about 3,000 peo­ple showed up to par­tic­i­pate, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s pro­vid­ing a great re­lief for the res­i­dents in Broward County,” West said. “Peo­ple are very ex­cited about get­ting some re­lief.”

Peo­ple can pre-reg­is­ter on­line at myflfam­i­lies.com/ fff, then go to one of the lo­ca­tions with their pre­reg­is­tra­tion num­ber.

The as­sis­tance cards are be­ing dis­trib­uted from 7 a.m. un­til 6 p.m. In Broward, the pro­gram will last through Sun­day three lo­ca­tions:

C.B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Road, Pem­broke Pines.

Cen­tral Broward Re­gional Park, 3801 W. Sun­rise Blvd., Lauder­hill.

Quiet Wa­ters Park, 401 S. Pow­er­line Road, Deer­field Beach.

In Palm Beach County, the pro­gram will be­gin next week, from Tues­day through Oct. 21, at three sites:

John Prince Memo­rial Park, 4759 S. Con­gress Ave., Lake Worth.

Lake Ida West Park, 1455 Lake Ida Road, Del­ray Beach.

Glades Pi­o­neer Park, 866 SW 16th St., Belle Glade.

In Mi­ami-Dade County, the pro­gram will last through Sun­day at four sites:

South Govern­ment Cen­ter, 10710 SW 211th St., Mi­ami.

Amelia Earhart Park, 401 E. 65th St., Hialeah.

Trop­i­cal Park, 7900 SW 40th St., Mi­ami.

Mi­ami-Dade Col­lege North, 11380 NW 27th Ave., Mi­ami. at

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