As Haiti reels from a massive earthquake that struck Jan. 12 and a strong aftershock last week, people are reaching out around the world to offer humanitarian aid.
Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless, children orphaned, medical assistance is in short supply. The exact damage to the country has not yet been determined, but there is no doubt the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country needs our help.
With operations in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the earthquake devastation in Haiti has hit close to home for Nashville-based international e-commerce firm BorderJump and its Miami partner, Aeropost.
Together the companies have organized a cooperative effort to airlift much needed relief supplies to Haiti.
Through the program, U.S. retailers and online merchants can ship donated supplies to Aeropost’s processing facility in Miami where goods will be consolidated for transport. BorderJump and Aeropost are handling all the logistics, with supplies distributed by the Pan American Development Foundation.
BorderJump CEO Bobby Frank explained that Aeropost has had operations in Haiti with a resident workforce for more than 20 years. It employs more than a dozen people there. But due to the chaotic nature of the situation on the ground in Haiti, Frank said communication with the office has been sporadic.
“We’ve gotten word from our manager in Haiti that he’s OK, but we haven’t heard from anyone else yet,” Frank said.
BorderJump and Aeropost are collecting items requested by Haiti’s government, including blankets, tents, sleeping bags, personal hygiene items, containers for liquids and food, cleaning equipment and tools. Frank expects the shipments to be part of a second-wave relief effort in the coming weeks.
More information about the airlift effort, as well as links to other ways individuals can contribute, is available at www.borderjump.us/haiti-relief.html.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- American Red Cross: Donate to the International Response Fund at www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). The public can also help by texting “Haiti” to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross, through an effort backed by the U.S. State Department. Funds will go to support American Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti.
- Doctors Without Borders: call 1-888-392-0392 (24 hours/7 days a week), www.doctorwithoutborders.org/donate. Donations to this organization are very important in the first week of the disaster in order to provide care for the wounded.
Cash Donations by Text Message: To donate $10 to the Red Cross, send a text message with the word, Haiti, to number 90999 and $10 dollars will be charged to your cell phone account and the money will be sent to the Red Cross. Donations for this system are setting records. Some cellular companies are not charging for sending of text messages.
- ShelterBox: Group provides boxes with a tent and life saving equipment for families of 10. They rely relies on public donations and people’s generosity and receives no institutional funding or DEC money. To donate to ShelterBoxes for this relief effort, text SUPPORT SHELTER to 20222 and a one time charge of $5 will be added to your phone bill.
- Soles4Souls Inc., the Nashville-based shoe charity dedicated to providing free footwear to people in need, created Project Haiti, a grassroots campaign to engage the general public in collecting gently worn footwear. The charity has already pledged one million pairs of shoes to be distributed to Haitians during a sustained giving plan in coordination with other agencies.
Until Feb. 13, over 400 Nashville-area locations will serve as collection points.
For more information on Soles4Souls and its relief partners, visit www.giveshoes.org.
- Philanthropy in downtown Franklin is selling T-shirts for the Hands and Feet Project. $10 from each shirt sold goes to Hands and Feet in Haiti to help with the Children's Villages Organizers say this especially important now because there are so many more homeless/parentless kids.
For more on the Hands and Feet Project, visit: http://www.handsandfeetproject.org/home.php or http://www.philanthropyfashion.com/
- “Haiti Needs You,” an organization formed by a group of local Hispanic residents, is collecting relief materials to donate to international aid agencies.
Articles of need include clothing and shoes, blankets, mats, or sleeping bags and tents, non-perishable foods, drinking water, medicines and first-aid items, disposable diapers and basic hygiene items (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and toilet paper).
For more information, email email@example.com or call 615-731-0466 or 615-369-1369.
- Christian Activities Online provides a list of more than a dozen religious agencies helping in Haiti. Find out how you can join other Christians at this link.
- Nashville music and entertainment Examiner Kathryn Darden provides an excellent and thorough list of Nashville-related groups helping Haiti can be found at the following link.
- Have a Heart—Save a Heart Haiti Event: Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Visitation Hospital Foundation are partnering to offer their second annual “Have a Heart — Save a Heart” taste of Haiti event in Salud! Kitchen area at Whole Foods in Green Hills. The dinner, cooking demonstration, and silent auction benefiting Visitation Hospital Foundation’s work in Haiti is slated for 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5. Tickets are available for $45 per person and can be purchased in advance by calling (615) 673-3501, or by making online reservations at www.visitationhospital.com. The event is open to the public.
Enjoy a family style Haitian meal with traditional cultural appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The menu includes items such as chicken with special spices, cabbage salad, red beans and rice, and tropical bread pudding. Wine will be provided by West Meade Wine & Liquor Mart. A silent auction will feature authentic Haitian crafts. Items from local community merchants will also be included.
For more information about the work of VHF, visit the website at www.visitationhospital.org. For more information, contact (615) 673-3501.
WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING
- Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is donating $10,000 to the following five charities: Haitian Health Foundation, Yéle Haiti, Conscious Alliance, American Red Cross and Bumi Sehat
- Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. has donated 15,000 vials of Caldolor, an intravenous form of ibuprofen, to the Haitian relief effort.
Cumberland provided the drug through a U.S.-based medical unit that will support field medical personnel in Haiti, including the international aid group Doctors Without Borders.
- David B. Ingram, owner of Ingram Entertainment Holdings Inc. and DBI Beverage Inc. gave $100,000 gift to the Red Cross International Relief Fund to help the earthquake victims of Haiti. This gift is being made from the David Ingram Advised Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Ingram Entertainment Inc. is the leading national distributor of home entertainment products, including DVDs, Blu-ray, video game hardware and software, audiobooks, and accessories.
- The Wild Cow Vegetarian Restaurant collected $1.50 from every glass of wine sold Friday, Jan. – Saturday, Jan. 23 to send to relief efforts in Haiti. Thanks to thirsty customers, Melanie Cochran is sending $194 to the Red Cross.
- The Cupcake Collection has set a goal to raise $25,000 to benefit Red Cross relief efforts. To get a jump-start, the confectionary opened on Saturday with the day’s proceeds going to Haiti. Patrons who donated $5 also received a free cupcake and coffee.
- ShelterBox USA, a disaster relief organization dedicated to providing shelter and supplies to those who need it most, shipped 400 "ShelterBoxes" to Port au Prince, Haiti. They arrived Jan. 20.
This delivery is just the start of more than 3,300 ShelterBoxes the organization has committed to the disaster relief efforts in Haiti. In fact, hundreds more boxes are due to arrive into Port au Prince from Miami on a chartered aircraft.
Each “ShelterBox” supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and lifesaving equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless. Highly trained ShelterBox Response Teams distribute boxes on the ground, working closely with local organizations, international aid agencies and Rotary clubs worldwide.