Thousands brave heat in Delray Beach for food assistance

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Be prepared for long lines if you plan on visiting any of the three SNAP Palm Beach County food assistance locations that opened up on Tuesday. 

From Belle Glade to Lake Wort to Delray Beach, thousands of people waiting in long lines in the excruciating heat -- some since before sunrise -- to get disaster food assistance.

This is not for people with food stamps but for most everyone who lost food as a result of Hurricane Irma. If you experienced prolonged power outages during Hurricane Irma and lost most of the food in your refrigerator, you may qualify for disaster food assistance.

Click here to learn more about locations and how you can qualify.

Chopper 5 captured exclusive footage from the skies, showing lines of people and cars stretching blocks to get into locations, which are being operated by the state's Department of Children and Families.

"If you got your water, your gatorade and you're South Floridian? It's no pressure," joked Chris Deveaux, who waited hours in line at John Prince Park in Lake Worth.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office has even been implementing 'soft closes' throughout the day at some locations to ease traffic and overcrowding.

Some people like Annette Debolt drove nearly 100 miles just to wait in line.

"I drove two hours from Vero Beach," she said. "It's been awful in the heat, even after I drove two hours, I've been standing in line for about three hours now."

She said volunteers were handing out waters. She says herself and those around her in line made sure to look out for each other.

"We're all basically sticking together, talking and just trying to keep each other happy and keep each other going," she said.

For those with special needs and very small children, organizers provided a shaded pavilion and wheelchairs. 

"I actually have had a broken foot since April, so it's very hard for me to walk," said Tania Fantecchi, waiting for disaster assistance. "So walking with a two and a half year old makes it very very difficult."

People brought umbrellas to fight the sun.

"No rain, but the sun is terrible," said Yveline Joseph, from Boca Raton.

Joseph and the woman next to her -- a nurse from Boca Raton -- are just strangers but they spent their three hours in line sharing an umbrella to stay cool in the hot sun.

"I feel bad for all of the old people, who's not gonna make it," Charlena Colombo, from Boca Raton.

Over in Lake Worth, some people waited as long as 7 hours.

"It's been pretty rough but it was well worth it," said Tara Pressley, who waited over seven hours in line.

Organizers deliver assistance based on the first letter of your last name. Here is the schedule for the three locations in Palm Beach County:

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

This program is not for people who are currently receiving food stamps. Click here to learn more.

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