‘Real Housewives’ Star Helps Build Water Wells In Haiti

Kelly Bensimon on her charity work with Generosity Water: ‘It’s not about being a celebrity, it’s about being a human being’

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with Kelly Bensimon, former model and star of Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of New York City”, about her involvement with Generosity Water, an organization that works to provide clean water to people in developing countries. Bensimon recently returned from a trip with Generosity Water to Haiti.

Generosity Water’s goal is to set up wells in villages that are protected from contaminants and organize water committees to distribute and protect this water. So far the organization has installed 131 wells worldwide.

Bensimon, a Rockford, Ill., native, has two daughters with her ex-husband, fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon.

Interviewed By: Brittany Fuerstenberg

Q: Can you explain to us the goal of Generosity Water?

Bensimon: The goal of Generosity Water is simply to bring water to countries in need.

Q: You just returned from Haiti with Generosity Water. Did you have any memorable experiences while you were there that you’d like to share with us?

Bensimon: It was really unbelievable. One of the most important things that we have to remember when we visit a place like Haiti is that [in their] hierarchy of need, water is at the top. Close to 1 billion people don’t have access to clean water worldwide, and 3.5 million people die from water related illnesses every year. So basically, [if] you want to be a humanitarian and a build a hospital, you can’t [just] build a hospital if you’re not stopping the reason people are being [sent] there, like for water-related illnesses.

But, one thing that really struck me was that in Haiti the government donated this plot of land, Canara, and they said, “listen, you know your homes have been devastated so we’re going to offer this land to you,” but there was one problem: there was no water.

The wells in Haiti are more expensive than they are in other places because you have to dig deeper. The actual wells that are built in Haiti are $6,000 versus the normal $3,000. The most important thing to remember is people can survive weeks without food; they can only survive three days without water. When I saw young girls, 10-year-olds, walking around with 40 pounds of water on their heads that I couldn’t even carry, and they weren’t in school, I thought to myself: “No. You go to school. I’ll take care of your water.”

Q: Especially as a mother yourself, that must’ve been something that really stuck with you.

Bensimon: As a mother, I was so upset by the process. I just couldn’t believe it. So, basically what I did was I enlisted my Twitter followers to support me, and I matched them, and I had my friends match me [with donations.] So it was just an amazing opportunity for everyone from my friends to the fans who love “Real Housewives.” They’ve been incredibly supportive and generous. I am so grateful for that. That was really impressive.

Q: Are there other charities you’re involved with?

Bensimon: There are so many other charities I’m involved in. I work with Feeding America. I donated some proceeds of a special charity airing last year. I also do work with the Museum of Modern Art, and I also work with Hale House.

Q. Why do you think it’s important for celebrities to be involved with charity work?

Bensimon: I think it’s not about being a celebrity; it’s about being a human being. It is interesting to see that the world is really small. That is one reason why I was able to make even more of an impact [because] I spoke the language. I [speak] French. So, I was able to go to the orphanages and to schools and speak to kids. Actually, I was able to go into the hospitals and communicate to the people there, be it doctors, nurses, whoever, because I spoke the language.

The world is really small and knowing a second language is really important. There were just so many layers to this trip. But, obviously bringing water to the world was one of the most important things.

Q: What are some upcoming projects that you are working on?

Bensimon: Right now I’m really focusing on Generosity Water. I want to help them raise as much money as I can. Also, I spoke to my older daughter, who’s 12, and I said maybe for her birthday and my birthday, because they’re both in May, that we would maybe [go to an orphanage I went to], and work on raising some funds. And go down there and actually clean up an orphanage. Not [by] bringing them things they can’t have, but just [by] making their lives a little better. So I am trying to enlist my kids to be supportive of the world as well, [because] they’re at that age.

Q. Now, is there anything that you would like to add?

Bensimon: I am just grateful for the opportunity. I am grateful to Bravo for allowing me the ability to have a voice and to be a public figure where I can actually make an impact, and make someone else’s life a little bit better. It is really an honor.

Posted on April 28, 2011 by , under HOME

I Love You 2010…Goodbye

Heres my list of the most amazing moments for me of 2010 :

1. Cover of March issue of Playboy
2. The Real Housewives of New York City Season 3
3. Adopting ‘Chief’ from Animal Haven
4. Sea canters on a horse
5. Memory chairs for Sea and Teddy
6. Sea and Teddy hot cocoa stand to support Animal Haven
7. Summer/Resort jewelry line launch and donation to Feeding America
8. Hampton Classic 4 place ribbon
9. Sea travels to Paris
10. Polar Bear Plunge
11. Sea and Teddy learn to surf
12. Connor the horse, gives the “paw” hoof
13. Yard Sale to support Long Island Harvest
14. Met our goal for Generosity Water

Posted on December 31, 2010 by , under HOME

No Thanksgiving This Year?

There are just a few days left until Thanksgiving, and we’re in real danger of missing our goal of providing a Feast of 9 Million Meals for Americans facing hunger this holiday season. With times as tough as they are, this would be a crushing blow for too many people. Please give now.

We urgently need your help to make sure families in need have food. Remember, every dollar you give will help provide 7 meals for families facing hunger! Our fellow Americans need us right now. That’s why I’m certain generous friends like you will step up and help your neighbors in need. Please help today.

After all, this is the season of giving. And it’s never been more important for you to give your most generous gift. Please, give as generously as you can. Nobody should have an empty plate on Thanksgiving – or ever.

Donate Now

Posted on November 12, 2010 by , under HOME

Blue & Cream

Last weekend, Blue & Cream celebrated with Kelly Killoren Bensimon, who unveiled  her new feather jewelry line at the Hamptons boutique. Joined by her  daughters Sea and Teddy, Bensimon debuted her exclusive charity  earrings, featuring Swarovski crystals and ostrich feathers, with 100%  of the proceeds benefit Feeding America.  Guests including The City’s  Roxy Olin, Kelly Klein, supermodels Chanel Iman and Eniko MikhalikAndrew Saffir, Daniel Benedict and Blue & Cream owner Jeff Goldstein  feted the designer with cocktails and conversation at the East Hampton store.

Posted on June 22, 2010 by , under HOME

Collaborating To Benefit Feeding America

Feeding America

Make a Donation today and help someone in need..Help Feeding America. 

Click here to Donate

Posted on May 22, 2010 by , under HOME

“Feeding America” Ebay Auction

Please visit my EBAY STORE and help Feeding America!

Posted on May 18, 2010 by , under HOME

Let’s Get Spirited!

Every holiday season is filled with bedazzled trees, champagne flutes, packages perfectly wrapped to get torn apart, kisses under the mistletoe, sweet smelling food, and of course spending countless hours in front of the television laughing with the Grinch, Frosty, and Charlie Brown. Some of my favorite things don’t cost a lot of money. You know my motto, “if it’s good, it’s good and if it’s not good it’s bad.” People ask me all the time what kind of perfume I wear, what kind of soap I use, what kind of eye shadow I’m wearing, so instead of giving you a Christmas wish list I decided to clue you in on some of my favorite things… Okay and a couple of wishes too!

Kelly's Christmas Set
Kelly’s Christmas Set by jbandy featuring Calypso
Items in this set:
Sailor Shirt, $135
Calypso St. Barth :: UNDERPINNINGS :: TANKS :: Basic Lace Tank, $85
Unisex Viscose Sexuali-Tee
Oasis Printed Shirt Dress, $135
Shop DIANI | Diane von Furstenberg Tivara Lace Mini Skirt

 

 

 

 

feeding america

 

  

 

 

 

Ready, Set, Give!

This holiday season isn’t bright lights and champagne flutes for everyone. I recently visited the Food Bank for New York City warehouse and soup kitchen. Yes, Obama’s stimulus package helped to fill the Food Bank this year, but the year is almost up. One dollar creates five hot meals. One book opens a child’s mind and allows them to dream. One toy puts a smile on a child’s face andallows them hours of time to escape reality.

So yes, I have an entire list of fun gift ideas for this season, ranging from feather necklaces to yummy Peppermint soaps, but I also have a link toFeeding America. If it’s hard for you to work with your local food bank, this organization is a great one to give to. Instead of spending money on that bag of Doritos, send those 2 dollars to Feed America and help stuff hunger! Click on my “donate” button and let’s all work together to give a huge donation. On January 5th 2010 I will take all the money raised and write a check to Feed America. Let’s make this huge!!

Giving is so much better than receiving. It fills your soul with a kind of love like no other.

So let’s give a little more this season.

Happy Holidays,

Kelly

Posted on December 11, 2009 by , under HOME

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