You may know Bethenny Frankel from the Real Housewives of New York, or her former talk show, Bethenny. The reality star is typically seen dawning expensive cocktail dresses and living it up in her SoHo pad.
But this week, the Skinnygirl mogul is doing some REAL good for some REAL people.
On September 20, Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean, leaving a path of destruction in its wake, and wiping out the entire island of Puerto Rico.
The U.S. territory is home to more than 3.4 million people who have been left stranded for the past two weeks, with no electricity, extremely limited access to food and water, and little hope.
In wake of the devastation, Bethenny charted FOUR private planes, stocked them full of food, medical supplies and EMTs, then set off to Puerto Rico to take restoration into her own hands.
“We got a 4th plane headed to PR and working on a 5th!” Bethenny posted with a video on Instagram. “I’m bringing $25k in Costco gift cards, $25k in cash gift cards and approximately 15k lbs of food, water and medical supplies. With the planes[‘] return we will be able to transport PR citizens stateside to get medical attention.”
The outreach was funded in part by donations to Bethenny’s charity, B Strong, which comes alongside women and their families in crisis. The rest was her own personal money.
Sporting a shirt that reads, #ThisIsACrisis, Bethenny took to the streets to meet people wherever they were at. Witnessing firsthand the devastation, she called it a “war zone.”
Reports in the media regarding the aftermath in Puerto Rico have been minimal. There have been brief clips of President Trump meeting with leaders, and tossing out rolls of paper towels like T-shirts at a marketing meeting, but very little actually showing the ruins.
The destruction has been hidden.
Bethenny plastered her social media with various photos and video updates that showed the dire situation that our neighbors are in.
“This is a forgotten island,” Bethenny told People. “People have been living on their roofs for 13 days. It is like nothing I have ever seen. People’s entire homes and cars are immersed in mud, the likes I’ve never seen.”
But not all hope is lost. In a separate video posted to Instagram, Bethenny met a woman named Gloria Cruz. Rather than complaining about how hard things are right now, Gloria welcomed Bethenny in and said, “We have life.”
The two embraced, and Bethenny gave Gloria $500 as she listened more to her story.
After all four of the private planes had been unloaded and the supplies had been distributed, Bethenny loaded them back up with cancer patients and people who needed medical attention. Together they flew back to the continental U.S. for further treatment.
“The low death toll is only counting what happened when it hit, but a storm happens more gradually than a hurricane,” Bethenny told People. “Now is when people are dying. They are starving. They are thirsty. They cannot communicate. They cannot bathe themselves. They wash their babies and laundry in street water.”
Bethenny’s organization is on its way to raising $1 million for Puerto Rico relief efforts.
We can’t all afford to charter private planes and supply 15,000 pounds of food to those in need, but we can absolutely be part of the solution.
Remember the parable of the widow’s offering? Jesus watched as crowds of people brought their money to give. The rich threw in large amounts, while a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins. She gave all that she had, and her sacrifice is one that Jesus uses to teach us all what it means to truly give of ourselves.
Bethenny isn’t just throwing money at these people, she’s spreading awareness.
Anything you can give, helps. Anything you can do to increase awareness, helps.
What better time to share the love and HOPE of Jesus, than when people are desperately searching for hope?
For more information on how you can help with Bethenny’s efforts, visit her charity website here.