By Dave Warren

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One South Florida charity has been working nonstop to address the critical supply shortage facing the medical community during this pandemic.

Michael Capponi founded Global Empowerment Mission. Together with Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong initiative operated by GEM, they distribute masks and other PPE to hospitals across the country.

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“Honestly it’s the most insane thing I’ve seen in all these disasters,” says Capponi about the process of getting the equipment. He adds that he gets emails from hospitals “begging and crying for any equipment they can offer.”

Working with individual hospitals or entire states, there are challenges getting the short supply to those that need it.

“You close a deal to secure 1 million masks at $4, then all of a sudden its four-fifty or five dollars. It’s pretty disgusting,” Capponi said.

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He says it’s been like this for weeks. Tight supplies and inflated prices.

The reaction, however, when it does make it to those that need it, it’s priceless. “Nurses were crying. It was really beautiful.”

Helping to get those supplies to those on the front lines is Carlos Ponce. He sees the risks they face and wanted to help. “It’s easy for us to say I’ll just quarantine and I’ll be safe,” said Ponce as he helped unload boxes of masks. “We have to think about the people who are letting us do that.”

As supplies try to keep up with demand there are ways to help. “People can help by donating. These things are expensive,” said Capponi.

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Donate to make sure supplies purchased here to make it to those who really need it.

Dave Warren