UPDATE: 1/16/10 2:15 AM EST: Please read most current update: Haiti Volunteer Project: Evening Update 1/15/10

[Special Note 1/14/10 @1:54 EST] We are working to connect qualified volunteers with reputable and well established NGOs on the ground. If you are someone wanting desperately to help but don’t have these qualifications, we strongly encourage you to donate to the following:

– UNICEF. Go online to unicefusa.org/haitiquake or call (800) 4UNICEF.

– Red Cross. Go online to redcross.org, or call (800) REDCROSS.

– Direct Relief International. Donate online at directrelief.org.

– Mercy Corp. Go online to mercycorps.org or mail checks to Haiti Earthquake Fund, Dept. NR, PO Box 2669, Portland, Ore. 97208 or call (888) 256-1900

Photo: RJ Bejil

Here’s the latest:

When I went to bed at 4 AM this morning, I’d already responded to 70 people who’d reached out to say “I want to go help Haiti.”

When I woke up an hour ago, my inbox had 130 new messages.

Everyone’s looking for a way to help Haiti; they just need someone or some group–like Matador–to organize it.

I’ll be updating you all day with developments related to the trip, and will be posting ways you can help even if you can’t travel with us.

The big update is this:

I’ve just gotten off the phone with JetBlue representatives, who are working on logistics. We should have an update this afternoon around 5 PM EST.

If you’re on Twitter, retweet this message:

Critical #Haiti update: @JetBlue is currently working on logistics. Stay tuned. THANK YOU @JetBlue. We can do this!

In the meantime, I’d like to share some of the volunteers’ stories with you:

“I am arriving to Puerto Plata on Friday for a previously planned vacation with my boyfriend. We are willing to join your group to volunteer if it is safe and feasible (we have a car) so I look forward to seeing how that plan comes together.”

“I have no idea where to even start but I did a quick google search and I have a HUGE feeling in my heart that I need to get to Haiti as soon as possible to do whatever I can to help these people. I have little money, but I have been a dairy farmer my whole life and I am more than able to work long and hard for these people.”

“Please keep me posted on possible volunteer opportunities in Haiti. My husband and I are adopting a little boy named Jeffry from Haiti, and had the opportunity to travel there in September. The people of Haiti and the country itself hold a piece of my heart. I have a current passport and am willing and able to do whatever I can. Thanks for your care and concern for Haiti!”

“Hi, my name is Joanne, and I am very saddened by this terrible and devastating event that has happened yesterday. I wouldn’t want anything more than to go to Haiti and help as much as I can. I am CPR certified and have almost complete training as an EMT. Please keep me up to date about possibly going over to help. Thank you.”

I’ll be updating again after talking with JetBlue this afternoon and will post within the hour about supplies that we’ll be collecting.

If you’ve emailed me about volunteering and haven’t heard back from me yet, I WILL be in touch. Hang in there!

Thank you for your amazing show of support. Haiti, I hope you’re ready for Matador!

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