Haitian Consul General of New York, Felix Augustin, giving press conference today. Photo by Francisco Collazo

Please donate now to support relief efforts:

– 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

[Special Note 1/14/10 @2:15 EST]

We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and willing volunteers. Thank you.

At this point we are working in direct concert with consul in NYC and established orgs to determine their needs and to wait for their direction.

Please note that Matador will not be taking volunteers to Haiti who are unqualified or unskilled as medican professionals and/or proven disaster relief.

If you’d like to support volunteer efforts in Haiti, please consider donating to one of the orgs listed here.

We’ll continue to keep you updated as we learn more.

You are amazing!

As of 7:00 PM EST, we’ve received more than 900 offers of help from people around the world who want to offer their time, skills, and energy to help Haiti.

And those offers are still coming in.

Your support was so overwhelming that my email was shut down by a spam alert (thanks to Matador contributor Carina Port for getting that worked out) and we had to set up a dedicated email account: matadorhaiti@gmail.com.

Until around noon today, I was able to respond personally to everyone who emailed their offers; however the sheer volume of email, phone, Twitter, and Facebook messages has become so enormous that I’ll have to communicate with most of you through this site. We’ll be updating it as often as we can, so please check back regularly.

As of 7:30 PM EST, here’s the latest news we have to offer you:

JetBlue has not committed to sending a plane of Matador-organized volunteers… yet.

Although New York’s Haitian Consul General Felix Augustin praised JetBlue for being the first airline to offer flights of emergency relief supplies and volunteers (which you can see in the video shot by Francisco Collazo at this afternoon’s press conference), JetBlue has not made a decision regarding Matador’s specific request. JetBlue’s community relations department is working closely with the Haitian Consulate in NYC, as well as established aid organizations, to determine the current and specific needs on the ground in Port-au-Prince, and to discern how everyone who is interested can be of the most help.

JetBlue has put Matador in touch with the Red Cross.

Matador will not take volunteers into Haiti without a confirmed volunteer placement with an established aid or service organization in Haiti. I have emailed JetBlue’s contact at the Red Cross, but have not yet received a response.

Matador continues to work with other organizations and individuals to discuss logistics.

I have been in touch with representatives at Partners in Health (thanks to Matador contributor Alyssa Martino for that lead) and other organizations in Haiti. At this time, these organizations do not yet have reliable, consistent contact established with their workers on the ground in Port-au-Prince to be able to determine exact needs. Until the specific needs are determined, we’re in a holding pattern. We’re aware that a poorly planned project could do more harm than good, and we won’t go into Haiti unprepared.

In the meantime, we will continue to collect names, contact information, and skills of volunteers who are interested.

I will be contacting the Haitian Consulate in the morning to convey that 900+ volunteers stand ready to travel to Haiti to provide assistance, and will be in conversation with them about the best way we can help meet existing needs.

We will continue to provide information and updates for those who want to help in other ways.

1. If you would like to make a donation, the Haitian Consulate of New York has established an account with Chase Manhattan Bank: account number 761-549-039.

2. If you have responded to our call for donations, THANK YOU! Keep collecting and email us at matadorhaiti@gmail.com with the subject line DONATIONS. Let us know where you are and we will be in touch about coordinating collection of your donated goods. Please be patient; there are only a handful of us working on this project, so it may take us a bit to respond.

We’ve all got to pace ourselves.

Don’t lose this initial wave of incredible energy. Haiti needs help today, but it will also need help next month and six months from now. As the Consul General said at today’s press conference, “We always needed something.” The need now is greater than ever, and we’ll respond to it as soon as we have all of the logistics hammered out to do so.

Thanks to the many people helping out behind the scenes- from Chicago to Miami and here in NYC- your work is so important. Keep it up!

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