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When it comes to providing for those in need, Bethenny Frankel knows how to get the job done. The former “Real Housewives of New York” star has championed global relief efforts through her BStrong organization, which aims to provide real-time emergency assistance to people in crisis.
The television personality and entrepreneur first made waves in disaster relief efforts in 2017, when BStrong chartered several planes to Puerto Rico after it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. Since then, Frankel and her team of volunteers has provided critical resources to citizens in the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian in 2018 and to Australia as wildfires ripped through the continent in 2019.
Now, the reality star is zeroing in on the current coronavirus pandemic and recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her around-the-clock approach to allocating medical-grade protective gear to those on the frontlines in the United States. BStrong has teamed up with Global Empowerment Mission to create and disperse coronavirus kits including hand sanitizer, hydration kits, gloves, immune boosters and more.
Frankel said she has received thousands of direct messages to her social media accounts from citizens asking for assistance — and they’re not ignored.
“I wake up in the middle of the night and get through all these messages, email with people and come up with plans. We’re working 24 hours a day,” Frankel told the outlet. “This is all we do. We don’t make a dime and 100 percent of the money we raise goes to the effort. This is our entire life at the moment and for the foreseeable future.”
And while Frankel has witnessed devastation firsthand in times of crisis before, she said the current pandemic is unprecedented.
“Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was the worst thing I’d ever seen and then Dorian in the Bahamas was even worse than Puerto Rico, which was scary. And now the coronavirus? This is another level of desperation,” she told the outlet. “Everyone has anxiety, and everyone’s panicked. But me and my team? We’re not all just sitting around in quarantine watching the news waiting for more doom and gloom. We’re focused on solving the problem.”
The former reality star added that she’s “never worked as closely” with governments as she is now. The native New Yorker said she’s been working with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, as well as Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
As countless stars have reacted to the global health crisis and shifted blame on President Trump’s administration, Frankel said she doesn’t have time to point fingers.
“With us, we’re not complaining or explaining,” Frankel said. “We just pick up the broom to help clean up the mess. State governments are writing me big checks right now to secure what they need — and in a timely fashion, so if the federal government wants to do that as well, that’s great. But I just don’t know how they work.”
The Skinnygirl founder also had a positive message for the professionals putting their own lives at risk to save others.
“We’re there for you, we understand what you’re doing, we understand that you’re afraid, we understand that you’re walking into work every day with complete anxiety,” she said, along with a reminder for everyone at home to stay where they are.
Earlier this week, the 49-year-old updated her followers on Instagram with a statement about BStrong’s ongoing efforts in the aid of the coronavirus.
“#BeStrong has now committed to 150k+ masks to be distributed to Mass. General, UCLA, Cedars Sinai, Mt. Sinai, NYU, Newton Wellesley, and more hospitals all over the country – this is because of YOU! Thousands of dollars are coming in by the minute and we need to keep it going! Our healthcare workers cannot protect themselves and need support,” she wrote.
“We are also donating #coronakits to healthcare workers who need hydration, sanitization, and immune building supplies. #THISISACRISIS.”