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Hands of Hope offer storm victims help

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Posted at 8:23 AM, Sep 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-19 09:33:46-04

ROCKPORT, Texas — It’s been two years since Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport and many of the surrounding communities, and many residents are still struggling to fix their homes and navigate a complex maze to get help.

Rockport Hands of Hope started in 2016 as a small mission of First Baptist Church to help build ramps for the elderly. After Hurricane Harvey, the state asked them to take on a much bigger role, coordinating more than 10,000 volunteers to help with repairing homes.

“We didn’t plan on becoming an organization that works with such a large scale,” said Rockport Hands of Hope Executive Director Cyndi Powell.

This nonprofit organization believes that it is filling a space that's sorely lacking.

“It became very obvious very fast," said Powell. "We are definitely the ones in Rockport who could do things faster with less red tape. Because we don’t use government money and help in a much broader scope than people coming in who focus only on fix the house or build the house."

Hundreds of people still are waiting to put Hurricane Harvey behind them. In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, community groups and nonprofits from all over flooded into the Coastal Bend. Two years later, they are still volunteering their time.

“We have helped between 500-600 through Hands of Hope, but we have also teamed with Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, and actually two Habitat for Humanity, and those we don’t count in our files, but it is well over 1,000,” said Powell.

Harvey was one of the costliest storms on record with damage estimated at $125 billion. Many escaped but were unable to rebuild their ruined homes alone.

“The goal is to stay in the community and reach more in the community who need help with their homes. That is hard to do, believe it or not,” said Powell.

She said right now they are trying to focus on people who were denied help, and help those whose homes just need some maintenance and care.

In the past two years, the organization has raised more than $3 million to help with demolitions, rebuilding homes, and buying and replacing RVs for people who need them.

For more information contact: 361-729-9011