MIAMI (WSVN) - Hours before the Latin Chamber of Commerce of the United States’ annual food drive in Miami for families in need was set to begin, cars were already lined up at the location.

With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, the line of cars that stretched across several blocks near loanDepot Park, Tuesday night, is telling of the times.

People like Letty Lee waited in line nearly 12 hours before the annual food drive began.

“It’s very amazing, what they are doing, the CAMACOL,” she said, “but we’ve been here almost four hours.”

The distribution kicked off at around 8 a.m., Wednesday.

Car trunks were loaded with the food baskets as the event this year was turned into a drive-thru distribution due to the pandemic.

For so many, with the price of food and other goods on the rise, this donation drive means a lot, especially during the holidays.

“I help my neighbor. I take some bags for them. I used to come with my mom,” said Carmen Torres. “I come here early because the line we have to do, it’s really big.”

The holiday food gift baskets for those in need were handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It’s important, there’s a lot of things in the basket that can cook for 10 or 12 people,” said Lee.

No tickets were required. This year, though, because of supply chain problems, CAMACOL only distributed 500 baskets instead of the usual 3,000.

“We’ve done many, many more in the past but we understand what we’re living,” said CAMACOL’s Chairperson Pedro Mesa. “We have a lot less sponsors and the sponsors that we have are going through hardships also so the merchandise, the products, the sponsorship has been less but we are very happy that at least we’re doing 500. We have 500 families that are going to be having a Noche Buena like they all deserve. We’re going to have a back to normal [event] next year, God willing.”

For people out in line overnight, they were grateful for those helping them put holiday cheer on their tables.

“It helps a lot of people. They need it,” said Torres.

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