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New Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Canteen Truck Enters Service For The 128th Boston Marathon

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A new canteen truck staffed by trained Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) responders from the Massachusetts Division will enter into service next week for the 128th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2024 thanks to the donation of a generous donor.

Featured image caption: Left to right, Philanthropist Dan Flatley, and of The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division, Director Emergency Disaster Services Emily Mew, Donor Relations Director Carleen Tucker, and Boston Responder the late Chris Monteiro.

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The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services, a leading emergency response partner of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), announced today that the state-of-the-art vehicle, which features a fully equipped mobile kitchen and better maneuverability across busy city streets, will join the non-profit’s EDS fleet of nearly a dozen statewide response vehicles.

During the 128th running of the Boston Marathon, more than 60 Salvation Army staff and volunteers will be stationed at 6 canteens along the 26.2-mile route. The Salvation Army teams expect to serve over 2000 meals, 2500 snacks, and 3000 drinks to first responders and BAA volunteers between Hopkinton and Boston.

Because Salvation Army canteens include ovens, refrigerators, power, and water, these mobile feeding units are prepared to serve thousands of meals at events and in times of disaster. While EDS has served first responders along the race route for the past four years, the organization’s canteens were also called in to help following the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing and Watertown Manhunt.

The Salvation Army’s new custom canteen truck took 18 months to build and arrive. It was made possible by a $150,000 donation in 2022 by Dan Flatley, a Boston-based philanthropist and trustee of the Flatley Foundation.

“With a big event such as the Boston Marathon, it is easy to forget the people working in the background. My father, the late Thomas J. Flatley, believed that everyone should be recognized for their service to the community. That is why I hope that my donation will make those selfless volunteers and first responders feel appreciated,” Flatley said.

“Our goal is to continue meeting our community’s needs during both large-scale events like the Boston Marathon, as well as during small and large disasters that impact Massachusetts. We are so grateful for the donation of this new and very versatile canteen truck that will increase our ability to maneuver and serve on narrow and busy streets or in areas with little infrastructure,” said Emily Mew, EDS Director, The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division. “Its smaller profile will allow us to pivot services quickly, whether by serving meals or providing other critical emergency services.”

Chris Troyanos, Medical Coordinator of the Boston Athletic thanked The Salvation Army for their contribution, saying that, “The Salvation Army has for years supported local volunteers and first responders, and we look forward to the enhanced capabilities brought about by the new canteen truck.”

The new truck officially enters into service at the 128th Boston Marathon. To learn how The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services is in communities before, during, and after disaster strikes, please visit salvationarmyma.org/eds.

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About The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services History in Boston

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) has served thousands of first responders and survivors of many local disasters in the City of Boston since the official dedication of its first mobile emergency response canteen. On March 25, 1922, Mayor James Michael Curley stood in the courtyard of Boston City Hall to offer The Salvation Army’s services of “a fire and emergency truck to the City of Boston.” This momentous occasion was the start of The Salvation Army Massachusetts Division’s Emergency Disaster Services.

In the truck’s first eight years, The Salvation Army’s red emergency “canteen” truck responded to more than 500 emergency calls from the Boston Fire Department to distribute food and hydration to Boston’s firefighters. Today, our fleet of canteens—better known to some as mobile feeding kitchens—and dedicated EDS volunteers have responded to thousands of natural and manmade disasters across Massachusetts including the historic Boston Marathon Bombings, the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions, the devastating Cocoanut Grove Fire and Worcester Cold Storage Blaze, the Cape Cod Tornadoes, and recent 6-alarm fire in East Boston.

The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services canteens can be used for events other than emergencies. Volunteers have deployed to support local emergency management with food and hydration along the Boston Marathon route since 2021, on election and inauguration nights, the Government Center Garage Collapse, and at funerals of fallen heroes. For more information visit SalvationArmyMA.org/EDS.