Credit: Piotr Sikora/VH1 Networks Photo: Drita D'Avanzo

Not many people know this, but before she was the resident firecracker on VH1’s Mob Wives, Drita D’Avanzo went through some truly rough times. With her husband in prison, she struggled emotionally, physically, and financially to support her two girls on her own. She almost didn’t make it.

These days, she’s using both her money and her fame to help other single mothers get out of a financial rut. We don’t think she’s going to have to rely solely on her own paycheck for long. With word starting to get out about her Single But Not Alone organization, companies like Maximum Human Performance (MHP) are donating cash. MHP even celebrated her cause this past weekend with an event at the Talladega race track.

Drita opened up to Wetpaint Entertainment about why helping other single moms is her passion — and what we can all do to help.

Wetpaint Entertainment: With your husband, Lee, in prison, you'd been a single mom long before you did Mob Wives, correct?
Drita D’Avanzo: Yes. And at one point, I got very, very sick from the stress. The first time Lee went to jail, I didn’t have kids. The second time, I had two. I was working as a makeup artist, but I got very ill and, all of a sudden, I was in the hospital and couldn’t work. So I lost my job. And the stress was just horrible. I was terrified I was going to lose my home.

I remember lying in that hospital bed, thinking, this is so unfair. Here I am trying my hardest to make something happen and I can’t. So once I became a little famous, this is the charity I wanted to start. This is what I wanted to give back.

Where does the money you raise for Single But Not Alone go?
It supplies single mothers with staples they need for the home and things their kids need for school, like books and school supplies. People don’t realize how expensive school supplies are for families with one only income. The stress to pay for it all can be crazy.

How many people are helping you right now?
Right now, it’s a few volunteers and me. I’m using my own money, plus anything people can donate. What MHP did was fantastic, and I was really touched. I’m just trying to get the word out so we can get more donations in.

Is the website set up to take donations?
Yes. And single moms can apply for help through the site.

Being able to do work like this, helping other single moms, does it make all the drama and the stress that comes with filming Mob Wives worth it?
One-hundred percent. I don’t enjoy putting my business out there. You know, I used to work 55 hours a week. No one I worked with back then knew anything about my personal life because that’s not my nature. Now it’s my job to open up. But I’m able to take a step back and look at all the good I can do because of that, and — you’re right — it makes it all worth it.

Find out more about Drita’s organization by checking out the Single But Not Alone website.

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