Crowds line up for SNAP disaster food assistance in Palm Beach County

Be prepared for long lines if you plan on visiting any of the three SNAP Palm Beach County food assistance locations that open Tuesday. 

RELATED: Florida SNAP benefits guide

If you lost power during Hurricane Irma and most of the food in your refrigerator, you may qualify for the disaster food assistance program.

At the John Prince Park location near Lake Worth, long lines and crowds had already formed by 4 a.m., even though doors were not scheduled to open until 7 a.m. 

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the John Prince Park location reached capacity around 9:30 a.m.  People who are currently in line up to Lantana Road will be assisted, while all others are asked to return on Wednesday.

Other locations are open in Delray Beach and Belle Glade.  Sites are scheduled to close at 6 p.m.  

At 4:20 a.m., lines of people were already wrapping around John Prince Park for the food assistance program.

"We came in our car. They told us our car cannot stand here, so we made a line and we stayed in the line until 4:30 a.m., then they said the only way in the park was in our cars.  It's been chaos and confusion and that's why we stayed out here," said Helene Previl, who was waiting in line Tuesday morning.

At 8:30 a.m., the John Prince Park location had signed up 1,500 people. People who lined up overnight were waiting along the sidewalk on Congress Avenue and taken by Palm Tran into the park.

"It is a blessing for people who do not receive food stamps to get food stamps. All you have to do is be mindful to others, respect others, and enjoy what God has blessed us with," said Cynthia Anderson of West Palm Beach. 

DELRAY BEACH LOCATION BACK OPEN TUESDAY

According to Delray Beach police Lt. Nicole Guerriero, 3,500 cases were allowed into the park for assistance, and the park was closed Tuesday morning. The park has now reopened and officials are now allowing additional cases to be processed.

Small groups of pedestrians only will be allowed to enter the park to have their cases processed. No vehicular traffic will be permitted into the park.

Any other vehicle traffic should seek alternate routes as there is a lot of congestion on Lake Ida Road around the park.

Ambulances were called at the Delray Beach site after one person broke their arm and someone had heat stroke.

AM I ELIGIBLE?

This program is not for people who are currently receiving food stamps.

Each day the three sites are serving people with certain last names. On Tuesday, people with "A" through "F" can go to any of the three locations in Palm Beach County.

Residents should pre-apply online and bring photo identification.

Individuals and authorized representatives are strongly encouraged to pre-register online. Pre-registration is a brief application process that adds your information to the system in advance of your local site visit. This application is available here, at the Food for Florida website. Pre-registering on the day prior to visiting your local Food for Florida site will allow for faster processing of your application on-site.  

All Food for Florida dates and locations will be posted on the Site Locations link on the Food for Florida website. Service at site locations will be organized by day according to the first letter of your last name. Each site’s alphabetical serving order is listed on the site locations webpage. This program is not first come, first serve. Everyone’s application will be taken and processed at their appropriate county location. 

PALM BEACH COUNTY SITES, DATES


* LAKE WORTH (10/17-10/21)

John Prince Memorial Park
4759 S Congress Ave
Lake Worth, FL 33461

10/17 – A - F
10/18 – G - J
10/19 – K - O
10/20 – P - Z
10/21 – Make-up Day
 

* DELRAY BEACH (10/17-10/21)

Lake Ida West Park
1455 Lake Ida Rd.
Delray Beach, FL 33444

10/17 – A - F 
10/18 – G - J
10/19 – K - O
10/20 – P - Z
10/21 – Make-up Day


* BELLE GLADE (10/17-10/21)

Glades Pioneer Park
866 S.W. 16th St.
Belle Glade, FL 33430

10/17 – A - F
10/18 – G - J
10/19 – K - O
10/20 – P - Z
10/21 – Make-up Day

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