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Camila McConaughey on her work to help first responders amid the coronavirus crisis

Camila McConaughey, Entrepreneur & Founder of Women of Today, joined Yahoo Finance's Jen Rogers and Myles Udland to discuss how she is helping the first responders of the coronavirus and how she's teaching her kids to give back to their community amid the crisis.

Video Transcript


- Welcome to Yahoo! Finance presents "Helping Hands." So we all know the bleak details, total cases of COVID 19 coronavirus have crossed 2 million now. There's over 140,000 people that have died. The virus so far has hit over 175 countries on six continents. The United States has the highest death toll with over 30,000.

But against the backdrop of those staggering statistics, people have been coming together. Of course, not physically together, but they've been coming together online and they have been coming together in spirit to help those in need. From volunteers in Indiana who have brought horses to the windows of seniors that are isolated to celebrities who have opened up their living rooms with impromptu concerts to students who have become shopping angels for the elderly, in this time of crisis, we have been caring for each other more and more. And today, we want to shine a light on a few of those that have been making a difference.

- And since the Coronavirus outbreak really took hold last month, we've seen folks across the country looking for ways to donate to those on the front lines, specifically donations of PPE, personal protective equipment, a term that too many of us have become quite familiar with over the last month or so. Camila McConaughey her and her husband, Matthew, have teamed up with Bethenny Frankel's BStrong initiative to send masks to first responders on the front lines of the fight against the Coronavirus. And Camilla joins us now to discuss.

So Camila, we talked to Bethenny earlier this week about this program and really about the, I think, bootstrapping nature of trying to get supplies that you might have access to out to those in need. Just tell us a little bit about what you guys have done so far and the status of your program right now trying to get what, again, you guys can round up to the folks who need it most.

CAMILA MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, so absolutely. You know, it warms my heart-- just like when you guys were doing the intro just now, of seeing how many people are coming together and trying to help. And in the beginning I was trying to pick a lane of how to help because I was feeling helpless.

There's so much that needs to be done right now. So the PPEs were something that I felt very passionate about. And we went into the basic necessities, let's do PPEs and let's do food for the kids and families that don't have access to meals at school right now.

So with the PPE situation, I've spent about a little bit over two weeks talking to, I mean, you name it. I was talking to people in China, people that turned their facility into masks here. I went all over the place. And I just then felt, for whatever reason, was that question mark that I didn't feel comfortable making a large purchase with anybody I talked to that point until I became aware of what BStrong has been doing. And I immediately got on a call with Bethenny and kind of run through the whole program and felt confident enough to make that donation.

So we started with 80,000 masks. We actually just had a phone call today, again, because my goal was to do more and more in different phases, so we're working that process now. And so far the first set that we got, it's going to Austin, Texas and Louisiana.

And it was very important that we did a combination between hospitals, the people that are really right there in the hospitals in the thick of it, but also a combination to the police department, the fire department, the sheriff department, who are also on the front line in a different way, that needs to be protected to make sure that we don't lose that infrastructure. That, it's so important as well.

- So Camila, aside from the PPE that you've been working on and with Bethenny Frankel, you also had this bingo moment that went viral. This video of your husband, Matthew, calling out bingo for some seniors. And it's so fun to watch. We're looking at it now. And of course, we're all fans of you and your husband.

But I have to say, I loved that your kids were there. And for people that are home with their families, we're trying to also talk to our children about this and how they can make a difference. How are you getting your whole family involved? And what advice do you have to other moms for how to take this experience and do something with them to make a difference?

CAMILA MCCONAUGHEY: Yes, absolutely. I think that the most important thing to think about now-- we're in a stressful time, everybody is right now. So getting that nervous energy and that stressful energy and put it into helping people and including your whole family is key. So for instance, we fed about over 25,000 kids so far and families so far.

And I just had a conversation with my kids yesterday because we just saw how the situation in Austin, it's getting more and more in terms of we're having lines of 6,000 cars, 3,000 cars waiting to get food. So we just come up with a promo with the kids yesterday that I put them in charge. I say, OK, how are you guys-- you know what we've been doing, the being part of it, like the bingo and all those different things we've been doing, they're part of it.

But I actually gave them a job yesterday. I say, how can you guys, with your friends, in your school, and the friends that you have make a difference? So they're coming up with a whole project that they are going to do together.

So I think that for families that are home, again, instead of having that feeling of oh, I can't do much right now, whatever it is that you can do, even if it's just helping a neighbor getting groceries or whatever it is, pick that lane, do well, and include your kids in it and get their approach of how to do it.

- And then, Camila, I guess just thinking more broadly right now, you mentioned it's a stressful time and we're trying to find ways to get everyone involved. As you just think about this period we've entered right now and you look at the track that we all thought our lives were on three or six months ago, do you have any sense right now of maybe what the future of things that you now are realizing like I actually want to refocus my efforts to do thing x or to do thing y and that everything's been thrown into kind of stark relief here?

Everything that's happened so quickly and has affected literally every person around the world, I certainly feel myself re-evaluating the decisions that I've made or the things that I thought I was going to do. What's that process been like for you in the last few months?

CAMILA MCCONAUGHEY: Yes, I think that for me it's been a lot of things with work. So I have Women of Today, which is a community based website. And we already do a lot of charitable things over there.

We're already focused in some of those things. But we had a whole different program happening that was going to come out now in May, and we had to basically scratch all of it. And it really made me sit down and go, we really need to refocus even more on being more charitable, even more on helping more into the community than what we have been doing.

So that's kind of become really a majority of our focus now. I'd spend most of my day making phone calls and connecting with ways of helping. So that's been the majority of, OK, how can we turn something or whatever the business or whatever the activation, whatever it is, in ways that can help others even more? You know what I mean? And I think the more businesses do that, the more they'll be able to give more back, the more they're able to keep consumers happy and all. It's kind of a 360 effect.

- All right, Camila McConaughey, thanks so much for joining us. Great work you guys are doing with the BStrong Foundation. I hope we can get an update with you guys in the months ahead. Thanks so much for joining today.

CAMILA MCCONAUGHEY: Yes. Well we're going to do some more.

- Look forward to it.