Boston Marathon Reminds Community of How The Salvation Army Mobilizes in Times of Disaster

Apr 12, 2023

Emergency Management and Volunteers Deliver Hope 10 Years Later

BOSTON (April 4, 2023) — The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) canteen is a welcoming sign of relief when disaster strikes. But, when nearly 30,000 athletes from around the world get ready to run the 127th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17, 2023, dozens of EDS volunteers and six Salvation Army canteens from Massachusetts and New England will be strategically placed along the route, as a sign of help, hope, and healing. On the tenth anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings, The Salvation Army is working alongside local emergency management, MEMA, and the BAA to provide support to 26 tents along the marathon route.

"We're excited to provide resources at this year's Boston Marathon by supporting local first responders and medical volunteers along the route," said Chris Farrand, Regional Director, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services. "While we have worked alongside many of the BAA race partners for years, the events of a decade ago remind us of the importance of emergency preparedness and working together with partner organizations."

More than 60 trained Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services volunteers and staff are prepared to serve more than 2,000 meals and beverages to medical volunteers and first responders along the 26.2 miles. The Salvation Army's mobile feeding units, also known as canteens, are prepared to provide hundreds of additional meals and other emergency services should a course interruption occur.

Since the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings, The Salvation Army's footprint in emergency management and New England has grown substantially.

The non-profit's response to the Boston Marathon Bombing, Watertown Manhunt, and MIT Officer Sean Collier's funeral was an integral part in helping those who were impacted by the tragedy. Years later, The Salvation Army's involvement has never been forgotten and continues to be key in training our EDS volunteers nationwide.

Between April 15 and 24, 2013, The Salvation Army EDS provided:

  • 18,924 meals, drinks, and snacks to runners, families, and first responders
  • 501 hours of service by volunteers, staff, and officers
  • 550 runners were provided with immediate critical support after the bombings
  • Emotional and spiritual care offered to survivors, families, and first responders

"Regardless of when, where, or what the crisis is, The Salvation Army's dedicated team steps up every time to help those in need," said MEMA Acting Director Dawn Brantley.

By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, emotional and spiritual care, plus clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good to help all of our neighbors during their greatest times of need. During the pandemic and before, Salvation Army EDS teams were able to mobilize quickly to help with emergency feeding because we are in communities before, during, and after disaster strikes. In 2022, EDS Teams from across New England served thousands of people and were activated to respond to hundreds of responses, on an average of every 1.5 days.

"The Salvation Army means so much to so many people. As a longtime marathon volunteer, I have seen how they're there when people are in need and during community events like this," said Dave MacDonald, volunteer with The Salvation Army EDS Fitchburg. "It's truly amazing to see how they perform their mission."

The Salvation Army recently announced it will be receiving the gift of a new Rapid Response canteen truck to serve the City of Boston thanks to a $150,000 donation from an anonymous donor. The new canteen is equipped with a mobile kitchen and better maneuverability for city streets. Because the mobile feeding unit includes ovens, refrigerators, power, and water, Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services will be able to use it for events other than emergencies. The new EDS Canteen is expected to arrive this year.

For more information on The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services can be found at

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army annually helps more than 25 million people in America overcome poverty, addiction, and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. During times of disaster, 100% of designated donations to The Salvation Army are used for immediate response and long-term efforts. In 2021, The Salvation Army was ranked No. 2 on the list of "America's Favorite Charities" by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. For more information, visit or Follow us on Twitter @SalvationArmyMA and #DoingTheMostGood.

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