Tag Archives: humanitarian

Bethenny Frankel Charters 4 Planes to Puerto Rico

One week after her trip to Mexico to aid victims of the devastating 7.1 magnitude earthquake, Bethenny Frankel is on the move again.

The Real Housewives of New York City star — who is currently recovering from skin cancer removal surgery with 12 stitches on her face — traveled to Puerto Rico to help Hurricane Maria victims.

“This is a forgotten island,” she tells PEOPLE. “People have been living on their roofs for 13 days. It is like nothing I have ever seen. People’s entire homes and cars are immersed in mud, the likes I’ve never seen.”

Frankel, 46, chartered a total of four planes leaving from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and New Jersey to distribute more than 20,000 lbs. of donated medical and survival supplies: water, canned goods, diapers, baby food, medical supplies, toys, insulin (courtesy of Univision) — plus 2,000 pounds in non-perishable, nutrient-dense meals from Feeding America and City Harvest, $25,000 in cash gift cards and cash (courtesy of Yieldstreet) and $30,000 in Costco gift cards.

Besides her own money, Frankel paid for this out of thousands of dollars in donations from Andy Cohen, Donny Deutsch, Elvis Duran and others to her B Strong charity, in partnership with Developing Good.

Upon arrival, the planes were used to transport dozens of sick and wounded women and children, and cancer victims, from local hospitals to the United States for treatment.

The Global Empowerment Mission also helped with this cause, and Frankel is on track to raise more than a $1 million in donations and supplies for Puerto Rico alone.

Endorsed by FEMA and the State Department in Puerto Rico, Frankel stopped in towns surrounding San Juan, visiting homes, a children’s hospital and more.

“We arrived in the first town before their own mayor,” she says. “We pulled onto a street with a truck of basic necessities, and you would have thought I was giving out diamonds. What struck me was people politely waiting in line patiently. They are so proud. I gave them cash cards in envelopes, and they were emotional yet still proud. Their faith is intact.”

“There is no color on the island. Every palm tree is rooted. This bitch hit every inch of this island. The low death toll is only counting what happened when it hit, but a storm happens more gradually than a hurricane. Now is when people are dying. They are starving. They are thirsty. They cannot communicate. They cannot bathe themselves. They wash their babies and laundry in street water,” she adds. “It is a war zone. I do not play the blame game, but the 73 towns of Puerto Rico need to be methodically mapped out and visited, and the relief needs to be organized, delegated and executed.”

So far, Hurricane Maria — which ravaged the U.S. territory Sept. 20, leaving the entire island without electricity and destroying many homes — has claimed at least 16 lives in Puerto Rico, the Associated Press reports. Experts estimate that without electricity and supplies, that number could increase to thousands, and many residents are still without clean water, food and electricity.

She has already raised more than $300,000 for Houston and $150,000 for Mexico after their respective natural disasters.

Frankel is using Twitter as a platform to rally other celebrities to donate, as well as communicate with people on the island in need.

“As of 36 hours ago, my team of complete strangers as of 36 hours ago has managed to load and distribute 3 planes (with 4 on deck) medical supplies, food, petcare, hygiene, food and transport home desperate, elderly, sick people,” she says. “Everyone pitched in. Crisis and relief is all about communication and dropping zero balls. If I had a bigger army we could really make a dent. This thing has only just begun. It is a startup.”

“I need to also thank Guardians of Rescue, Omar Rosario, Nicole Castrillo, Saira Rivas, Margie Arbizo and Michael Capponi,” she concludes. “These people worked 24/7 on relief chats with her to make this happen. My friend Maria Menounos also reached out tirelessly help to connect with suppliers in her network. And without Twitter, this never would have happened. Twitter users literally saved babies’ lives by connecting me to pediatric hospital allowing me to transport patients home. It is the most incredible tool in the world.”

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Morgan Freeman To Receive SAG Life Achievement Award

Morgan Freeman will be the 54th recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award for his career achievement and humanitarian accomplishments. The award, which will be presented at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 21, 2018, is SAG-AFTRA’s highest honor.

Morgan Freeman To Receive SAG Life Achievement Award

“I am thrilled to announce Morgan Freeman as this year’s recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award. Some actors spend their entire careers waiting for the perfect role. Morgan showed us that true perfection is what a performer brings to the part,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “He is innovative, fearless and completely unbound by expectations. As a chauffeur, convicted murderer, boxing gym attendant, pimp or president, Morgan fully realized every character, baring their souls and showcasing their humanity. It has been a privilege to see his genius at work.”

Freeman, who began acting at age 12, has appeared in nearly 100 films, which together have earned over $4.5 billion at the box office. His credits include “Million Dollar Baby,” which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar; “Unforgiven”, and “The Shawshank Redemption,” for which he received Best Actor nominations for a SAG Award, Oscar and a Golden Globe. Other credits include “Street Smart,” his 1987 breakthrough role, “Invictus,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Bucket List,” “Glory,” “Lean on Me,” “Se7en,” “Amistad,” “Bruce Almighty,” and “Along Came a Spider.” He most recently starred in Warner Bros.’ Going In Style, Paramount Pictures’ Ben-Hur, Summit Entertainment’s “Now You See Me 2” and Focus Features’ “London Has Fallen.” Freeman’s upcoming films include Broad Green Pictures’ “Villa Capri” and Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”

Morgan Freeman To Receive SAG Life Achievement Award

With one of the world’s most recognizable voices, Freeman was the voice of two Oscar-winning documentaries: “The March of the Penguins” and “The Long Way Home.”

Freeman first became nationally known in 1971 when he starred in the Children’s Television Workshop’s “The Electric Company,” for which he created characters including the iconic Easy Reader. He is currently an executive producer of “Madam Secretary” for CBS, and hosts and is an executive producer for the Science Channel series “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman,” which recently completed its seventh season. He also hosted the event series “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” on the National Geographic Channel, and will next host “The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman,” which premieres October 11 on the National Geographic Channel.

His philanthropic work includes support for Artists for a New South Africa and the Campaign for Female Education – organizations working to create hope and better lives for thousands of people. In 1973, he co-founded the Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop, now in its 37th season, which supports and nurtures promising African American playwrights to ensure those voices can be heard.

SOURCE: WWF

Mother Teresa Declared a Saint

Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who devoted her life to helping India’s poor, has been declared a saint in a canonization Mass held by Pope Francis in the Vatican.

Mother Teresa Declared a Saint

Pope Francis delivered the formula for the canonization of the Albanian-born nun — known as the “saint of the gutters” — before huge crowds of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City on Sunday morning. Applause broke out before he completed the formula of canonization, in which he declared “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint.”

Mother Teresa Declared a Saint
India renamed the city of Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001 to match the Bengali pronunciation. But the church uses the spelling of Calcutta in its references to Mother Teresa.

Speaking in Latin, Francis said that “after due deliberation and frequent prayer for divine assistance, and having sought the counsel of many of our brother bishops, we declare and define Blessed Teresa of Calcutta to be a saint, and we enroll her among the saints, decreeing that she is to be venerated as such by the whole church.”
Catholics — including hundreds of blue- and white-robed nuns from the Missionaries of Charity sisterhood founded by Mother Teresa — had gathered from around the world to attend the canonization of the church’s newest saint, just 19 years after her death.

Mother Teresa Declared a Saint

A huge portrait of Mother Teresa, whom the church credits with having performed two miraculous cures of the sick, hung from St. Peter’s Basilica during the colorful ceremony.

Mother Teresa Declared a Saint
Pope Francis then delivered a homily, in which he praised Mother Teresa — “this emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life” — for her charitable work.
“Mother Teresa, in all aspects of her life, was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, making herself available for everyone through her welcome and defense of human life, those unborn and those abandoned and discarded,” he said.

Mother Teresa Declared a Saint
“She bowed down before those who were spent, left to die on the side of the road, seeing in them their God-given dignity. She made her voice heard before the powers of this world, so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.”

For the newly-sainted Teresa, he said, “mercy was the salt which gave flavor to her work, it was the light which shone in the darkness of the many who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.” She was an example to volunteers around the world, he said. “May she be your model of holiness.”

Mother Teresa Declared a Saint
In a departure from his scripted remarks, he noted that people “may struggle” to refer to her as “Saint Teresa.” “With great spontaneity, I think we will continue to call her Mother Teresa,” he said.
Prayers were then delivered in a number of languages, including Albanian, Mother Teresa’s native tongue, and Bengali, the language of Kolkata, where a special Mass was celebrated at the Missionaries of Charity Sunday. A prayer was delivered in Chinese for persecuted Christians around the world.
About 1,500 homeless people from across Italy were bused into the Vatican to be given seats of honor at the Mass — and be served a pizza lunch by nuns afterward.

SOURCE: CNN