By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Reality TV star, philanthropist and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel’s bstrong initiative, in partnership with Global Empowerment Mission, is taking on the COVID-19 outbreak, to help the people who need it most.

Frankel says she “got activated fairly soon just to see where the problems lie” initially getting involved and committed to providing to 20,000 “corona kits” – hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves, medical information, addressing hydration and immune boosting.

Once aware that medical professionals on the front lines were in dire need of equipment, she sprang into action organizing to find and gather, personal protective equipment (PPE) to get to hospitals and medical workers, with no time to waste.

“We started sourcing protective gear all over the world and all over the country and that is a gnarly process. We have to go into warehouses and inspect and vet and people, there is faulty counterfeit equipment and it is a nightmare,” Frankel said.

Thankfully she’s cleared those muddy waters. Her disaster relief experience, aiding Puerto Rico and the Bahamas following hurricane devastation, led to a headquarters in Miami at a 60,000 square foot warehouse.

Philanthropist Michael Capponi runs Global Empowerment Mission at the warehouse where he’s on supply duty.

“Basically, we’re are getting inflow daily of 50,000 to 100,000 sets (PPE) per day, and the out flow is from guest trucks which come in once to twice a day and we package for specific hospitals. Our goal is to service 250 hospitals which has been a huge undertaking.”

One of those benefitting is Nicklaus Children’s Hospital which recently received 6,000 regular masks and 2,000 N95 masks.

“We are extremely grateful for Bethenny Frankel’s support and everything her organization bstrong is doing for hospitals like ours around the country. Their commitment to lending a helping hand to healthcare workers on the frontlines at a challenging time like this is a huge gift. This donation of protective masks will help keep our hospital supplies stocked and our healthcare workers and patients safe,” said Michelle Boggs, President of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Frankel’s outreach is wide. Stating she’s “been in touch with over 200 hospital medical centers clinics, distributing aid and relief according to how bad the disaster is.” And she is working with some big-name celebrities too.

“We are doing the Camila and Matthew McConaughey’s mission and we did Billy Joel’s last week.”

The McConaughey’s posted a video of their efforts with bstrong delivering supplies to first responders in his home city of Austin, Texas.

The who’s who list of celebs who have jumped onboard include Ellen DeGeneres, Amy Schumer, and more. The information is shared exponentially, continuing to expand, thanks to Instagram and Twitter.

“Social media is amazing in a crisis, that’s when it’s really for good and not evil,” Frankel adds.

Frankel’s goal through bstrong is to raise 20 million dollars to blanket the nation with PPE.

For more information on how you can help with this initiative log on to her website bethenny.com/bstrong

Lisa Petrillo

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