How Bethenny Frankel Is Getting Masks to Health Care Workers

Bethenny Frankel

In between calls with the governor’s office, Bethenny opens up about her important efforts

Bethenny Frankel knows how to get things done. When she learned there was a shortage of personal protective equipment necessary for medical professionals working on the front lines of the Covid-19 outbreak, she sprung into action.

Her crisis intervention initiative B Strong had already been making coronavirus kits — but quickly pivoted towards supplying and distributing medical gear. While fielding phone calls from the governor’s office, Bethenny took some time to speak with producer Emily Pinto about working with government officials, how her young daughter is reacting to her efforts, and what she thinks we can all learn from this “global shift.”

As soon as I started seeing the stories about the lack of protective equipment for medical workers, I thought to myself, “This is going to be a massive issue.” Watching the number of Covid cases in New York escalate, I knew I needed to help.

My partner, Global Empowerment Mission in Miami, has a support staff of volunteers who began to assemble, allocate and distribute protective equipment — not just to major hospitals, but to volunteer hospitals and medical centers. We have a big warehouse that’s sort of our command central for shipping and receiving and trucking. And then I’m the one who connects the dots. I create the messaging, I decide what we’re focusing on, and I make sure we pivot our efforts when something becomes more important. I make connections with donors so they understand exactly where their money is going, and assure them that they’re making a good investment. This is the biggest thing I’ve ever worked on. It’s intense, to say the very least.

Protective gear ready to ship.

I’m on the phone with the governor’s office every five seconds. They’re amazing, receptive, and responsive, and I really feel for them right now. We’ve also partnered with the governor of Arizona, and the governor of Massachuestts, because this is urgent. We can’t wait three weeks to get people masks. We have to cut through the red tape. I’m working directly with state government, and it’s been a really good process. They can accomplish things that I can’t, and I can accomplish things that they can’t. I hope it can be a model for the future. I don’t know that much about politics, but I know how to get things done.

This is all I’m doing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is my life now. My daughter has said to me, “I’m proud of you mommy. I love what you’re doing.” She hears me on the phone sometimes, and she came once with me to help load a plane with supplies. But I don’t allow her to be too knee-deep in it, because it’s very intense. I don’t want her to be terrified. She knows that I’m working hard, but that when I’m with her I’m 100% with her. That is a challenge — when I’m trying to run a homeschool while I’m also handling all of this.

My daughter, like many people, is feeling a change. It’s a global reset. I believe that this crisis is helping us to move away from the superficiality of everything — how we look, how much money we have. I admit that I’ve been part of that machine, because of shows that I’ve been on or pictures I’ve decided to post. The world was at a place that was so, “Look at me! Look at me! Look how great my life is!” There is a global shift that’s happened under very unfortunate circumstances. Everyone is feeling anxiety and panic. But we all need to find our place within this change. And maybe some good can come from it.

Donate to B Strong here.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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