Thousands of Food Stamp Applicants cause shut down of John Prince Park

Food for Florida line

Thousands of Palm Beach County residents lined up at John Prince Park, some claiming to have waited since 2:30 AM, to apply for food stamps as part of special disaster relief efforts from the Food for Florida program.

The response was so overwhelming that by 9:32 this morning, the Palm Beach Sheriffs’ Office tweeted, “John prince park has reached capacity. Those currently in line up to Lantana Rd will be assisted all others are asked to come back tomorrow.”

More than 1,500 had already signed-up by 8:30 this morning. Palm Tran was transporting those on the Congress Avenue sidewalk to the enrollment area.

Many had waited for hours, only to be told they did not bring the proper credentials or would not be seen today due to the massive turnout.

Florida Senator Jeff Clemens joined the countless numbers of frustrated citizens who were being turned away when he tweeted,

“Florida SNAP event in John Prince Park today is an absolute nightmare. Traffic backing up for miles in all directions, and onto the highway. Feds, state totally unprepared for crowds.”

Parking was nowhere to be found as officials refused to allow participants to park in off-site lots or plazas. Streets were backed up to I-95 and cars were bumper-to-bumper along Lake Worth Road and 6th Avenue with the park’s only open entrance located on Congress.

Car horns blasted as some participants were dropped off from the street to take their places in the unbelievably long lines. Some obviously frustrated residents were filming the ordeal on their phones.

By all accounts and appearances, the number of residents anticipated for the event was grossly underrated.

Those wishing to enroll for benefits must meet certain criteria, so be prepared!

  • Pre-apply/Pre-register online
  • Bring photo ID
  • Have Social Security cards and date(s) of birth on hand
  • Income information, (such as take-home pay [wages or self-employment], child support, Unemployment Compensation, Social Security, pension or retirement, disability, or any other money)
  • List of disaster-related expenses.

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