LAKELAND, Fla. (WTSP) -- On the last day to apply for disaster food benefits in Lakeland, thousands of people waited in line. It stretched a few blocks and wrapped all the way around the RP Funding Center.

“I almost cried when I saw the line,” Atrecia Russell said.

People came from all over Tampa Bay and beyond. Some people drove from Pasco, where DCF postponed its Food for Florida operation. Others, like Russell, couldn't make it to one closer to them.

“The program is so beneficial though,” she said. “It's worth the wait.”

DCF employees worked as quickly as possible to process applications. They saw a thousand people every hour.

“We will take the cue of law enforcement, but we're committed to going as long as we can today and serving as many as we can,” William D’Auito said.

By day's end, DCF will have provided benefits to around 45,000 people since Saturday.

“My legs hurt. I'm ready to go home,” Carol Crosby said. “But I feel good.”

DCF tells us across Florida, it’s given out more than $800 million in disaster food benefits.

If you weren't able to make it to Lakeland this week, DCF will be at the Pasco County Fairgrounds Nov. 5-8.