As Russian forces continue their invasion into Ukraine, the rest of the world is watching – and when possible, taking action.
Including one former reality television star.
Bethenny Frankel, who first came to national prominence as a cast member of Bravo’s hit show “The Real Housewives of New York City,” is now leading a comprehensive effort to assist Ukrainian refugees through her philanthropic organization, BStrong.
Via an outpost on the Polish-Ukrainian border, BStrong workers are providing refugees fleeing conflict with food, water, hygiene products and cash cards, as well as assisting them with travel logistics.
Frankel told The Cut that she “knew we needed to be involved – [that with] so many people leaving their entire lives behind, you’re gonna have a lot of women and children coming through.” She added, “We know people are being displaced, that people will be homeless and desperate.”
In the past, BStrong has also sent aid to earthquake victims in Haiti and Texans recovering from a 2021 winter storm crisis, often to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars – if not millions. Frankel admits that “a situation of national unrest is different from a natural disaster,” but says the crisis-response model her organization already had in place has come in handy.
“[W]hen you’re dealing with individuals and families, it’s not a one-size-fits-all disaster,” she said in her recent interview, admitting that their survival kits full of essentials only go so far. “[T[hat’s where our cash cards come in. These people need money, to get plane tickets, or to get other things they need.”
She reports that 100 percent of any donations BStrong receives are going toward helping Ukrainians out, pointing to a “warehouse filled with $16 million dollars of aid, all the time, so we don’t need to go out and find it every time there’s a crisis.”
On its website, BStrong says it has raised $3 million towards its refugee-assistance efforts to date – and hopes to increase that amount to $5 million as the conflict continues.