Sending a $10 text message is helpful, but Portlander Jeff Lorton takes "proactive" to a whole new level. He woke up last Wednesday morning feeling like he had to do something to help Haitians affected by the earthquake. So he made some calls to a freight consolidator, found an old container, and started rounding up donations.

Jeff Lorton (left) prepares the container for loading.
  • Jeff Lorton (left) prepares the container for loading.

Right now in a parking lot at SE 13th and Ankeny, dozens of volunteers are packing up donated water, food, medicine, clothing and hygiene products. Lorton and his co-director, Eric Smith, are busy but calm as they coordinate the effort. "We've been working since Friday," says Lorton. "Everything here has been donated."

Once loaded, the container will travel by truck to Los Angeles, by train to Dallas, and by boat to Kingston, where it will sit waiting for clearance to arrive in Haiti. "It should get there in about six weeks," Lorton says. "Right now the port's busted, eh? This is second-wave relief."

Lorton's getting the word out through social media, and there's a Facebook page for the project. He says most of the volunteers today were drawn by a piece in the Oregonian... let's show them up, Mercury readers. You can stop by to help between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. today through Wednesday.