As Floridians continue lining up for food assistance due to hardships caused by Hurricane Irma, state officials announced they intend to re-open enrollment in two South Florida counties to meet demand.
The Florida Department of Children and Families has distributed more than $1 billion in emergency food benefits through the federal Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP, according to agency data.
The department will hold an additional three-day signup event in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties within the next two weeks, DCF officials said Saturday.
Saturday was the last of five days DCF issued benefits at three Palm Beach County locations.
“We served on average about 20,000 people a day,” said DCF Southeast Region Managing Director Vern Melvin.
Melvin said it’s a lifeline to people in need and a boost to the recovering economy.
“Between $40-50 million has gone into benefits for these individuals in the past five days, who will be spending that at Publix, Winn-Dixie, convenience stores -- all local,” he said.
But the Palm Beach County sites, like D-SNAP signup events in other counties, were plagued by long lines and extensive wait times. And some people got turned away.
“Unfortunately, even though they had hours posted until 7 o'clock, they closed before 6,” said Matthew Damsky of Boynton Beach. “So we were unable to do it.”
For more information on DCF D-SNAP signup events, visit: https://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/access/fff/siteLocations.shtml