Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which is solid social distancing) you’re aware that the world is currently coming to an end. Okay, that may be slightly dramatic, but sh*t is seriously going down. The COVID-19 virus has created a massive healthcare crisis on a global scale. All businesses not deemed essential have been shut down, hospitals are overrun with coronavirus cases, and for some reason your next-door neighbor has hoarded all of the toilet paper. In a time where uncertainty and panic have become everyday feelings, it’s important to maintain perspective and to acknowledge those who are working tirelessly on the frontlines, and the organizations that are dedicating all of their resources to helping those in need. Or, as Mr. Rogers said: look to the helpers. Which leads me to an extraordinary introduction: she’s an author, producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and let’s be frank(el), a literal queen. Bethenny Frankel hustles like nobody else: starting from serving up top notch skinny margs, to now saving the goddamn world, Frankel is a hero to happy hours and to those in need everywhere.
Frankel’s disaster relief initiative, BStrong, is founded on the mission of providing real time emergency assistance to people in crisis. They have partnered with the Global Empowerment Mission (GEM) in order to distribute face masks and protective gear to hospitals and medical workers. I spoke exclusively with Bethenny Frankel to hear more on how she is navigating aid efforts in midst of the pandemic and what you at home can do to help.
BStrong and GEM
At the start of the pandemic, Frankel’s BStrong and the GEM team began working around the clock to assemble “corona kits”, primarily aimed at prevention, consisting of tote bags with protective gear, hydration kits, Vitamin C for immunity building, and medical information. In response to the recent overwhelming shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), BStrong and GEM have since pivoted to providing masks, gowns, and additional protective gear to healthcare workers. Frankel shared an update on BStrong and GEM’s current relief efforts, telling us that, “We are currently distributing protective life saving gear to hospitals and state governments nationwide. In addition to the aid, we have distributed to important large hospitals in high risk cities, our current goal is to distribute to 100 hospitals nationwide who cannot afford to help themselves. We now distribute to between 10 and 15 hospitals a day.” While their approach may have changed, their mission is still the same: to deliver essential supplies to those who desperately need them.
Frankel is no stranger to dealing with large scale disasters. She has been in the trenches providing aid to those affected by the fires in Australia and the hurricanes in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. The coronavirus, however, has challenged Frankel to adapt and shift her strategy in regards to responding to a healthcare crisis on a global scale. Frankel describes what it’s like to be an essential resource and providing aid during a pandemic. “This is a very cutthroat, time-sensitive, and intense process like I’ve never seen,” says Frankel, “Hoarding, gouging, stealing, and interception make this a very challenging mission, but we are trained for this. We have inspectors, lawyers, operations and logistics experts, and we cut through the red tape and move quicker than anyone can. We have already made significant progress and have moved an excess of 15 million dollars on necessary aid.”
Bethenny Frankel goes on to say that, “This is different from any other crisis, because the whole world and governments are on fire and are all fighting for their lives. It’s a war.” She’s not wrong; governments have been fighting over resources like they’re the last pack of toilet paper in the entire world, clashing over who’s going to receive coveted supplies and who’s left to get strategic with a bandana. BStrong’s partnership with GEM is working to make sure that doesn’t happen to our healthcare workers who are on the front lines of this crisis.
How To Help
Without proper funds, organizations like BStrong and GEM aren’t able to provide the crucial goods to the people and trades that desperately need them. That’s why Betches has launched the Good Influence Fund for Corona Relief. The Good Influence Fund works to connect people to worthy causes that have proven that they can mobilize quickly to address the range of challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to BStrong and GEM, The Good Influence Fund is recognizing World Central Kitchen, One Fair Wage, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Donations are divided equally between the four organizations to support their vital work.
Donations are essential in a time like this. Bethenny Frankel stresses that, “Funding has never been more important.” She goes on to say that, “We are sourcing and paying for tens of millions of dollars in protective equipment, and need to move instantly.” There is no time to waste, and every second and every penny truly does make a difference. Frankel says, “We need large donations. People spreading the word does a tremendous amount of good, and the small donations add up to thousands daily. We transact in the millions every few days.” Feeling inspired yet? You can donate to Betches’ Good Influence fund, or directly to BStrong and GEM by clicking here.
Frankel continues to preach that, “100% goes to the effort, which is refreshing in a time where major charities keep a significant percentage, and people have no idea specifically where [their] money goes.” Frankel appeals to donors, saying that, “We show them the return on their humanitarian investment. We don’t hoard money and have ten million dollars sitting around for every disaster; so the more we do this, the greater trust we establish for ourselves, for wealthy donors, and for the influencers that get heavily involved.” Celebs like Amy Schumer, Billy Joel, Katie Couric, Ellen DeGeneres, Nina Dobrev, Shaun White, Mindy Kaling, and even Vanessa Hudgens have all pledged their support and donated to BStrong and GEM.
Right now @Bethenny is securing #millionsofmasks and supplies for various hospitals across the US. Join me in donating to help these medical professionals/literal lifesavers on the front lines: https://t.co/qccAJdlpsF
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) March 26, 2020
Funding isn’t the only way that you can support relief efforts from home. Frankel says that it is a pivotal time to use social media for good, emphasizing that, “Social media has helped #bstrong to save thousands of lives and aid people who have lost everything.” She continues, “We are totally transparent and I show our missions in real time on my Instagram.” It’s like they always say: sharing is caring. Frankel calls us all to action, urging everyone at home to, “Please encourage those who you look up to and who can afford it to keep donating. Please keep spreading our message and communicate exactly what we are doing.” You don’t have to be a billionaire to do your part. An Insta story is free, use your social media for good and post about initiatives and organizations that are out there doing valuable work. I’m not saying you have to skip your next selfie, but maybe throw in a hashtag and a link to a worthy cause while you’re at it!
And tune in TONIGHT 4/7 on Instagram, where Betches will be going live in our first-ever Instathon to raise money for the Good Influence Fund For Corona Relief and spread awareness. Starting at 6pm, we’ll have live DJ sets, celeb interviews, games, and more, featuring DJ James Kennedy, Colton Underwood, and many more special guests—all while raising money for corona relief.
Bottom line: I encourage everyone to donate financially if you can, or to help spread awareness through your social media channels, or hell, be an overachiever and do both! Do it for your loved ones, do it for the brave healthcare workers, and most importantly, do it because Bethenny Frankel told you to. DLBD, Don’t Let Bethenny Down!
For more information on BStrong and GEM or to donate to The Good Influence Fund please visit: https://www.bethenny.com/bstrong-disaster-relief/ & https://www.globalempowermentmission.org/covid-19 and https://secure.actblue.com/donate/betches
Photo credit: Sasha Maslov