More than two months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island’s residents are still struggling to recover.
Reality TV star and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel and Global Empowerment Mission Director Michael Capponi took the initiative to help support the relief efforts after the hurricane, and have already raised tens of millions in money and supplies.
“The effort will end up being about $40 million, which is a massive private relief effort because the money, which is over $1 million, goes to cash cards that we’ve raised, so people can get what they need. But together we’ve amassed relief from all over the country,” Frankel told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
According to Frankel, conditions are still quite bad for Puerto Rico’s residents. At the time, the hurricane caused the largest blackout in U.S. history, with many parts of the island still lack electricity.
“It’s really, really bad there, and there still is no electricity on most of the island,” she said. “People stop you on main roads for ‘agua por favor.’”
Frankel explained she did not start fundraising for the accolades, but because she knew she could make a difference as a businessperson.
“I don’t want any kind of commendation or anything,” she said. “I’m a businessperson, and it needed for people to come together. I give 100% of what we raise directly to people.”
When asked about expectations for federal government help in the relief efforts, Capponi said they have tried to remain autonomous from what the government is doing.
“We’ve really tried to operate independent, I think what the real story here is how the country came together,” she said.
Then Frankel weighed in on the government’s role in the relief efforts.
“It’s not organized, so you said, ‘What would we want from like politics and government?’ Who’s in charge? What’s the plan? There’s no organized plan, maybe someone thinks someone else is doing it. BUt I can tell you that we’ve been there, both of us, many times. It’s not being done, it’s not organized,” she said.
Frankel said that while the government may have the power to get things done, the people within the government don’t have the power to get the ball rolling.