Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel's commitment to helping aid victims of Hurricane Florence can be attributed to her late boyfriend, Dennis Shields, she says. The 47-year-old SkinnyGirl Cocktail creator, who participated in Puerto Rico relief efforts during the wake of Hurricane Maria, has now formed her own relief foundation to aid in natural disasters, the Daily Mail reports.
While still grieving the death of Shields, who passed away last month due to a drug overdose in his Trump Tower apartment, she says she is using those emotions for a good cause. The Daily Mail details her comments from a Friday interview on Mornings With Maria, a Fox Network show. On the show, she shared how she decided to form the B Strong Relief foundation, crediting Dennis Shields for being a "doer" who would have been discussing ways to help with her right now.
"He would love, he loved this part, and he was a do-er and so he would have been, you know we would have been talking about this exactly right now," she said.Frankel wants to use the money and power she has to create efforts individual to each disaster's unique needs. She claims that she and those who work with her in the organization are not being paid for their efforts, but instead all money raised goes straight to victims in need.
But inspiration from Shields is not the only reason she created the organization, she claimed. Frankel said that her previous relief work happened at the last minute when she decided to jump into the Hurricane Maria disaster and lend a helping hand. During that experience, Frankel claims that she loved getting to know other volunteers, stating that their desire to help those in need was "contagious."
Indeed, it seems as though Frankel's relief efforts last year were very successful, especially due to her use of Twitter to gain sponsors and support, Inc. says. Reportedly, she was one of the first to respond to the crisis, sending four airplanes with 20,000 pounds of supplies to Puerto Rico on October 1, 2017. Then, she apparently went on to send a total of 40 planes and $5 million in relief funds, her Twitter stated.Frankel had 1.5 million followers on Twitter at the time, a gift which she used to negotiate donations, coordinate supply offerings, and offer individual personalized help to some victims, Inc. says. She personally reached out to help requests sent to her on the social media platform.
Frankel may credit her late boyfriend for inspiring her to offer help this time around, but the amazing help she offered last year shows that a love for helping those in need comes naturally to the star. Her words on Mornings With Maria said as much.
"I realized that I had this ability as a philanthropist and the ability and the platform to raise money and now have developed trust where people will donate because everybody wants to get involved. We give out cash cards, so they have the dignity and freedom to purchase what they want."