Portlight Disaster Relief

Haiti update Tents needed!!!!!!!!!!

By: Portlight, 6:01 PM GMT on January 31, 2010





Please click on the link in post # 49 below and read this maddening report from a relief worker in Haiti.

We spoke today with Richard Lumarque, our coordinator in Haiti. He expressed a crying need for tents. If anyone can help with a donation of a large number of tents, we can facilitate getting them in.

The UN sub cluster on disability will convene its' first meeting today in PauP @ 2:30PM local time. We have connected Richard into that. Also, the USAID coordination call on Monday will focus exclusively on disability issues...as the result of our insistence. That call will be followed by a Portlight hosted call of about 15 NGO's on the ground in Haiti with the focus on coordinating our work on scene. We are placing a "Disability Czar" on scene in the next few days who will serve as a focal point and clearinghouse for all disability related activities in Haiti. We have secured the donation of 20,000lbs of instant rice which we will be delivering. Our pipeline of DME into Haiti continues to flow.

The Schooner Liberty Link sailed from Miami for Jacamel today with a crew of 12 and 10,000lbs of supplies to be distributed there. I spoke with Cap't. Phillip and he assures me Weather Underground is his source of choice for weather information. Liberty will arrive Wednesday in Jacamel...and will also be the method of conveyance for the rice mentioned above.

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We are actively working both in the United States and on the ground in Haiti to serve the needs of people with disabilities there. The following list of our activities is in no particular order…but should give you a good overview of our impact.

- Secured warehouse space in Atlanta and Charleston to facilitate management , transport and delivery of critical goods and supplies.
- Connected with over a dozen groups in Haiti with whom we are able to coordinate our outreach to people with disabilities.
- Opened dialogue with the USAID and secured their cooperation.
- Opened numerous pipelines for delivery of donated durable medical equipment to our warehouses.
- Resumed shipment of DME and clinical supplies into Haiti.
- Identified at least two locations at which we can begin to congregate people with disabilities in order to provide a safe, efficient location for the delivery of services.
- Secured the services of several on scene coordinators who are identifying locations of people with disabilities and facilitating their transport to our service locations
- Secured a $10,000 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, as well as raised over $20,000 from our network of supporters
- Mobilized the leadership of the US disability community to come to the aid of their Haitian brothers and sisters.
- Provided direct financial assistance to those on the ground facilitating this work
- Secured a truck for use by those working with us in Haiti.
- Secured the services of a Creole speaking Haitian native to coordinate all our efforts their.
- Provided for the transport of 4 water filtration systems to Haiti. And arranged for one of them to be at our disposal to serve the needs of people with disabilities.
- Secured the donations of well over $500,000 worth of durable medical equipment and clinical supplies
- Applied to USAID for specific aid to people with disabilities.
- Initiated an avalanche of media coverage, including NBC news for a long feature on people with disabilities to run in the next couple of weeks…and CNNI running internationally.
- Participated in all relevant USAID and White House conference calls on the subject of Haiti relief efforts…and have been instrumental in keeping people with disabilities top of mind with Federal officials.
- Secured cost effective US trucking network to facilitate movement of supplies.
- Facilitated air transport into Haiti of several medical service providers.
- Created a social media communication network to facilitate communication with all our stakeholders.
- Connected with the Southern Command in Charleston to facilitate transport of goods aboard Air Force C17’s.

We are committed to long term service in Haiti. None of this would be possible without the incredibly generous support of the Weather Underground community.

So…pat yourselves vigorously on the back!!!!!!!

Updated: 5:21 AM GMT on February 04, 2010

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Haiti relief efforts continue

By: Portlight, 4:36 PM GMT on January 24, 2010





The UN sub cluster on disability will convene its' first meeting today in PauP @ 2:30PM local time. We have connected Richard into that. Also, the USAID coordination call on Monday will focus exclusively on disability issues...as the result of our insistence. That call will be followed by a Portlight hosted call of about 15 NGO's on the ground in Haiti with the focus on coordinating our work on scene. We are placing a "Disability Czar" on scene in the next few days who will serve as a focal point and clearinghouse for all disability related activities in Haiti. We have secured the donation of 20,000lbs of instant rice which we will be delivering. Our pipeline of DME into Haiti continues to flow.

The Schooner Liberty Link sailed from Miami for Jacamel today with a crew of 12 and 10,000lbs of supplies to be distributed there. I spoke with Cap't. Phillip and he assures me Weather Underground is his source of choice for weather information. Liberty will arrive Wednesday in Jacamel...and will also be the method of conveyance for the rice mentioned above.


We are actively working both in the United States and on the ground in Haiti to serve the needs of people with disabilities there. The following list of our activities is in no particular order…but should give you a good overview of our impact.

- Secured warehouse space in Atlanta and Charleston to facilitate management , transport and delivery of critical goods and supplies.
- Connected with over a dozen groups in Haiti with whom we are able to coordinate our outreach to people with disabilities.
- Opened dialogue with the USAID and secured their cooperation.
- Opened numerous pipelines for delivery of donated durable medical equipment to our warehouses.
- Resumed shipment of DME and clinical supplies into Haiti.
- Identified at least two locations at which we can begin to congregate people with disabilities in order to provide a safe, efficient location for the delivery of services.
- Secured the services of several on scene coordinators who are identifying locations of people with disabilities and facilitating their transport to our service locations
- Secured a $10,000 grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, as well as raised over $20,000 from our network of supporters
- Mobilized the leadership of the US disability community to come to the aid of their Haitian brothers and sisters.
- Provided direct financial assistance to those on the ground facilitating this work
- Secured a truck for use by those working with us in Haiti.
- Secured the services of a Creole speaking Haitian native to coordinate all our efforts their.
- Provided for the transport of 4 water filtration systems to Haiti. And arranged for one of them to be at our disposal to serve the needs of people with disabilities.
- Secured the donations of well over $500,000 worth of durable medical equipment and clinical supplies
- Applied to USAID for specific aid to people with disabilities.
- Initiated an avalanche of media coverage, including NBC news for a long feature on people with disabilities to run in the next couple of weeks…and CNNI running internationally.
- Participated in all relevant USAID and White House conference calls on the subject of Haiti relief efforts…and have been instrumental in keeping people with disabilities top of mind with Federal officials.
- Secured cost effective US trucking network to facilitate movement of supplies.
- Facilitated air transport into Haiti of several medical service providers.
- Created a social media communication network to facilitate communication with all our stakeholders.
- Connected with the Southern Command in Charleston to facilitate transport of goods aboard Air Force C17’s.

We are committed to long term service in Haiti. None of this would be possible without the incredibly generous support of the Weather Underground community.

So…pat yourselves vigorously on the back!!!!!!!

Updated: 6:02 PM GMT on January 31, 2010

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Haiti Relief Update

By: Portlight, 3:01 AM GMT on January 17, 2010





URGENT UPDATE!!!!!

Our on scene coordinator, Richard Lamarque, will be leaving for Haiti in a few days. He is from there, is well connected there, and has a skill set and life experiences which will be invaluable to our work there.

He will be travelling by ship. We have commited to purchasing for him a small truck to take with him. The truck will be loaded with supplies. Upon arrival, the benefits of having a vehicle on site are self evident. The truck will cost roughly 3-5 thousand dollars. We have already earmarked $2000.00 for this.

We want this to be a uniquely Weather Underground community initiative. We will place WU signage on the truck...and we will be able to post photos of it at work in Haiti.

The Weather Underground community has been the Genesis of our efforts. And the WU truck will be a long term, tangible symbol of the generosity of the WU community.

The next $3000 we receive will be earmarked for the WU truck. Please post this announcment to blogs...and forward it to all your WU friends.

Thanks!!!


We have another shipment going out in the next day or so and hope to have it in place by early next week; this shipment includes two more of the water treatment systems and more food and medical/clinical supplies. This is a larger shipment than the first; we're hoping to identify places with more dire needs and place one of the water treatment systems there as well as the other supplies.

We are continuing to raise funds to help defray the cost of shipping and for the purchase of food and other shelter supplies; bear in mind that it costs us to transport these supplies from our warehouse to the port and/or airport for shipping as well as the actual shipping to the Dominican Republic for distribution; getting these materials from the D.R. into Haiti is a costly enterprise in itself as the roads are not the best. We are hoping to hear that our shipments can be accepted in Haiti directly but as yet this is not possible.

Remember that Portlight's focus in this disaster is going to be people with disabilities in Haiti, providing Medical equipment, shelter and food for them. Haiti is our neighbor, and the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. In many ways, the Haitians are a forgotten people and people with disabilities in Haiti are frequently barely seen as human.

While Portlight WILL NOT be placing any staff in Haiti until we can assure their safety, rest assured that we will be staffing shelters in the near future. Anyone interested in going to Haiti to help staff one or more shelters for Haitians with disabilities please email us at paul@portlight.org

This from Dakster:

Hey guys need some help! I am "working" with Presslord & Portlight on their Haiti relief mission. I have teamed Portlight and a friend of mine up.

He has family that he is unable to contact and is also going to do some recon and make security recommendations for Portlight before their personnel get to Haiti. He has a free trip, but we still needs some help!

A little background - He is a 15 year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department, he was born in Haiti. He speaks fluent creole, has knowledge of the island, and has numerous unaccounted for friends and family.

We are trying to get a satellite phone for him to take with him - as traditional cell phones are not working that great.

What we are asking for is if someone knows where to get a satellite phone for free or cheap?? Can also be loaner as he will be coming back to the US.

Presslord is "on the road" and couldn't make the post himself. But if you could WUMAIL me AND HIM it would be great. I want Presslord to coordinate all of this - I am trying to get this out ASAP.


This from BrowardJeff:

My friend Katie is working with a relief organization that is air lifting supplies from Fort Lauderdale to Haiti. I've done alot of volunteer work with her locally mostly with our homeless population..she's definitely for real, and if she says she's worked with these people before, that's good enough for me..and I'm very careful about where my charity efforts go.

I have access to fuel at cost..and Portlight has stepped up and contributed some money to offset that as well. But we need more supplies..plus more planes and pilots. If you are in South Florida and want to make a tangible difference, please read below, and WU mail me. I'll put you in touch with the right people.

Updated: 7:12 PM GMT on January 17, 2010

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Haiti Earthquake Relief

By: Portlight, 8:41 PM GMT on January 06, 2010






Portlight's focus in this is going to be on people with disabilities in Haiti...providing medical equipment, shelter, and food for them...there is an article below about the treatment of this population in the best of times...and this ain't the best of times...

We have a "Go" container in Atlanta which will ship out in a few days...and an ongoing relationship with a community of Catholic sisters in Port au Prince who will be opening shelters....

Any funds we raise will be used to defray shipping costs of medical and clinical equipment...and for the purchase of food and other shelter supplies...Haiti is our neighbor...and Haitians are certainly forgotten people...people with disabilities in Haiti are frequently barely seen as human...

Anyone interested in going to Haiti to help staff one or more shelters for Haitians with disabilities please WU mail us...


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Sometimes...if ya just put your faith in God and his people...the result can be breathtaking. That has certainly been the case with our work in the last year and a half. The Weather Underground community continues to amaze with support, work, dedication...and great ideas. As we start the new year, this is more true than ever.

For several months now we have been working feverishly behind the scenes to strategically solidify our position financially and logistically....and we've made tremendous headway.

Repositioning the Honor Walk as an ongoing fund raising and community building initiative is a huge step in that direction. Weather Underground agreeing to participate again as National Sponsor is crucial to the success of that effort.

We have also fine tuned our disaster response approach with a stragegic plan which will maximize our impact. This has been outlined in previous blogs...and many of you have been involved in the planning process...so I won't rehash all that right now.

And now a new...and really cool...thing has begun to come together. And the implications are huge.

Four (so far) WU bloggers are executing an idea which will further our reach in a profoundly meaningful way. Patrap (Patrick Pearson) in New Orleans, FLDART (Steve Melton in Greenville, SC), Auburn (David Kelley in Auburn, AL), and Stormjunkie (John Wilbanks in Charleston, SC) are working hard to open Portlight Thrift Stores in their respective communities.

It's a fairly simple concept. And one with which you're surely familiar. In this economy, thrift stores are thriving. They also fill an important community need. And they can be opened with an absolute minimum of capital....literally a few hundred dollars. I am personally commited to providing the seed funds for these projects.

Landlords, we're finding, are eager to work with us. So rents are low...or, in some cases, not existent. Also, we aren't tying ourselves to leases, thanks to cooperative landlords. We are putting the one in Charleston in a building I own...so no rent. The one in Greenville is going into space owned by a friend of mine...token rent. And in the other two cities, we have every reason to believe that rents will be negligible. Municipalities are waving license fees, utilities are waving deposits...and people are coming out of the woodwork to donate inventory...and volunteer.

I am very excited about this development. And I welcome...in fact encourage...your input.

Also, if you like the idea, please support it with a financial contribution. I firmly believe that whatever contribution any of us make to this will be magnified greatly through the hard work of this incredible community. I hesitate to use the word "investment", as I think it sounds a bit cute in this case. But that is how I view my contribution. All our Honor Walk proceeds will be earmarked for direct relief work. So if you make a contribution intended for the thrift store initiative, please note it on the PayPal submission or on your check.

So the adventure continues...with your help...

Thanks!!

Paul Timmons (Presslord)

Updated: 2:56 AM GMT on January 17, 2010

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Update and info

By: Portlight, 4:56 PM GMT on January 04, 2010





Many “Thanks!” to each and every one of you for supporting all our 2009 projects!!!!
We have several exciting new things to update you about.

2010 Portlight/Weather Underground Honor Walk

Weather Underground has again graciously stepped up to the plate as National Sponsor of our 2010 Honor Walk. And it’s going to have a new look and feel in the new decade.

The Honor Walk concept springs from our grassroots nature. The idea of participating in a personal fundraising project –on the Honor System – rather than as part of a big event, seems to resonate with many people. By the same token, some folks have enjoyed bringing friends, co-workers, etc., into their efforts. We have found, over the last two years, that our Honor Walk works well for everybody. People who want to create a large group event of it can easily do so…people who just want to solicit a few sponsors and walk at a time and location of their choice can easily do so as well.

This year, we are approaching the Honor Walk in a way which will give everyone in our community more flexibility. Rather than focusing on one specific date, we’re spreading the fun out throughout the year. We are reaching out to groups and individuals to participate at whatever time…and in whatever way…works best for them. And we’re beginning to see that not limiting people to a certain date is opening up the prospect of much broader participation.

Please begin to give some thought as to when, and to what extent, you’d like to participate in the 2010 Portlight/WU Honor Walk. If you’re a lone wolf…and just want to do something individually…that’s great!!! And…if you want to make a somewhat bigger production of it…and involve friends, co-workers, etc., …that’s great, too!!!!!!! We are updating the website (www.portlight.org) with all the documentation you’ll need to solicit sponsors…just keep us posted.

All funds raised through the 2010 Portlight/Weather Underground Honor Walk are earmarked for our disaster relief work. We have worked hard to prepare effective response strategies and are confidant that, with your continued support, we can really make a difference in the lives of unserved, under served and forgotten people.

Another important Portlight project has nothing whatsoever to do with disaster relief. But it’s a crucial initiative…and we want to take a moment to tell you about it.

Veterans Mentoring

For many years we have worked quietly to facilitate and nurture personal and career mentoring relationships between young people with disabilities and older…well, ‘more seasoned’…professionals and business people. Our theory is this: there are a wide variety of employment programs for people with disabilities. But getting a job is only part of the solution. Over the long haul, developing a career...and nurturing ones' personal life... are essential for full independence. In the last thirteen years we have made hundreds of such matches. And the feedback we’ve gotten has been universally positive.

Frankly, this outreach is impossible to quantify. How do you measure the effectiveness of human relationships? As you’ve all seen and experienced with our disaster relief work, we focus on building community. And, by doing so, most of the details fall into place. This is exemplified by our mentoring program: we'll never know exactly what successes we've had...so...creating relationships is success enough.

This year, we are focusing our mentoring program specifically on working with injured military veterans. These men and women have a lot to offer. And we are excited about the prospect of helping them realize new potential.

So...Thanks for all you do, have done, and will do.

It's gonna be a great year!!!


Updated: 6:55 PM GMT on January 04, 2010

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