Thousands line up in Pasco County to apply for Hurricane Irma assistance

DADE CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Pasco County Fairgrounds were packed Sunday with families lining up to apply for help after Hurricane Irma.

Two months after Irma ripped through our area, many are still in need and are willing to wait hours for the Food for Florida Disaster Food Assistance Program.

Lines of people and cars were long outside the fairgrounds for the first day of the event in Dade City. People in line told News Channel 8 they arrived early in the morning, and some even started camping out at midnight.

The families are all waiting to apply for temporary food stamps, a relief program to help those hit hardest by Hurricane Irma.

“No electricity for a week. Of course, the food went bad. No water anywhere, no gas anywhere. It was pretty rough,” Jennifer Izzard said.

Once people finally reach the tent to get their benefits, things moved quickly. A big reason why is people came prepared.

“I put myself on the computer, all the information I need. So when I get up there all they have to do is pull up this card and all the information is there with my name and it says I am approved,” said Gretta Wright.

After receiving benefits, a woman who arrived at 5 a.m. told us her three-hour wait was worth it.

“I own a house in Claremont and I have 10 thousand dollars in damage. You have to come up with about 4-thousand for insurance,” said Debbie Fleischman.

So far, the Food for Florida program has helped 7 million people throughout Florida and has given about $1.3 billion in benefits.

The program wraps up in Pasco County on Wednesday. If you plan on applying, here’s what you need to know. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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