An update from Major Dave Kelly, the Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army’s Massachusettes Division:
The Salvation Army positioned three canteens at various sites, as requested by city leadership and first responders. Two of those sites finished up service earlier in the evening, but the City set up a central gathering place for those most impacted by the bombing. The central gathering place is at the large, civic function annex of the Park Plaza hotel….interestingly, the same location we use for our Christmas distribution program. Meals were being served by the Army, and the Boston Mental Health Department, with whom we have an existing close relationship from other events, was also on hand to provide support. Many emergency services personnel came, as well as some runners, and others impacted by the bombing or resulting building evacuations.
In addition to the canteens providing service, Salvation Army officers were sent to each of the area hospitals (where the injured were transported) to be on hand if pastoral care was needed. We thank God for the meaningful conversations that occurred during this difficult time.
I am deeply grateful for the quick response, compassionate spirits, and heart for ministry with which our officers, staff, and volunteers responded. Canteens from Malden, Fitchburg, New Bedford, and Springfield were all on hand to provide assistance, serve meals, and to encourage and support. Special thanks to the The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) for arranging for the delivery of some clothing items to assist those runners who were still wearing their running gear many hours after the race had been suspended. The Army was well represented by the actions of our people, and “a cup of cold water in Jesus name” will long be remembered by those who came to us for help and support.
A canteen will be on duty throughout the evening, and we will be providing breakfast in the morning at the “Castle” (as Bostonians would know that facility), and additional meals as needed throughout the day.