The Red Cross helps people that are working but don't qualify for federal aid. That box of chicken, pork or block of cheese they get from the red cross frees up money in their family to buy construction materials or whatever they need to make their lives whole again. After Katrina I know several families that ate red cross donated food while they were rebuilding their homes. Insurance never pays for everything. Most people that fixed their own homes barely got enough for materials. My aunts roof was trashed. Several of us went to Pass Christian, MS to replace her roof. She got less that $4000 to replace the roof on a 1,600 square foot house. Just the cost of 25 year shingles were more than she received from the insurance company.