Residents denied Red Cross benefits receive some unexpected help

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Ever since the Red Cross relaunched their efforts to deliver financial assistance to victims of Hurricane Harvey, 3News has received a slew of calls from Rockport residents who are upset after being denied disaster benefits.

A large group of those who were denied benefits gathered Friday on Doughty Street in Rockport to meet with 3News and tell us their side of the story. Most of them had the same question -- "Where's our help?"

It's a question many Rockport residents have been asking. However, on Friday as 3News arrived to speak with those residents who were denied benefits, a group from New York showed up and asked 3News what was going on.

We explained, and what happened next was unexpected.

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The group drove down from Long Beach, NY, and call themselves Waves of Hope. Their community was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, and when they saw the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey they started a collection drive.

"We ended up collecting five semi-trucks of donated goods that we sent to the Houston area," Long Beach resident Tim Kramer said. "And then in addition to that, we collected over $40,000 in gift cards and we're going hand to hand."

After finding out the dilemma that the group of Rockport residents were facing, the group went back to their vehicles, grabbed the gift cards and began handing them out.

It's money that will go a long way to help the Rockport residents.

Samantha McCrary runs a relief camp on her property in town and was grateful for the unexpected gift.

"They gave me the gift cards also that I'm going to give to people in my camp who need to pay for gas," McCrary said. "I've got electric companies threatening to cut off people's power that just came back on last week. I've been paying people's electric bills, so FEMA and Red Cross are kind of bad words around here right now."

The residents are still wondering why their Red Cross requests for help were denied. A Red Cross official told 3News there may have been a glitch in the system and urged everyone to appeal the denied claims by calling 1-800-733-2767.

In the end, the residents got the help they were looking for thanks to Waves of Hope.