To assist families and victims of the bombs at the Boston Marathon, please donate at the official site set up through Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. The official web site is: www.onefundboston.org .
Here is a brief description of some of the many actions taken by Massachusetts VOAD members following the Boston Marathon. This was a last minute conference call announcement so we apologize for not yet communicating the help delivered by many of our great members and affiliates:
Conference Call Attendees:
Steve Napoli (Red Cross, MA VOAD Chair)
Cindy Hahn (Red Cross Western MA)
Hector Ball (FEMA)
Bob Herrmann (Hope Worldwide)
Doug Forbes (MEMA)
Melissa Sieminski (Red Cross, MA VOAD Masscare Officer)
Kevin Hall (Church of Scientology, MA VOAD Public Affairs Dir)
A conference call regarding the Boston Marathon was called by email at 11:14AM today for 3pm so we apologize to those who didn’t see the message and who would have liked to join.
Steve opened the meeting covering some of the Red Cross activities. The Red Cross was working with the Boston Athletic Association and Emergency Services in the tents during the Marathon so had members to help right after the bombs went off. They set up health and disaster mental health services quickly and have also been a presence at vigils and memorials. Also, a fund called One Fund Boston has been put together through the Governor’s office and Boston Mayor’s office and already has over $7 million. It’s to help the victims of the bombs and their families and will be managed by Kenneth Fienberg who managed the 911 fund.
Melissa said that the Red Cross also set up Masscare activities with the Salvation Army with the headquarters at the Castle in Park Square, Boston. The combined work included feeding, a place to stay and family unification, with Red Cross in communication with consulates. Melissa also said the Red Cross has worked with the MBTA to promote mental health and spiritual counseling. She aslo worked with Jim Tilby of the Fire Chaplains on pastoral counseling. Those MA VOAD churches that want to get their names out there to help with spiritual counseling can contact Melissa.
Kevin Hall said that his church, that is in the Back Bay went out to assist distraught people about 45 minutes after the bombing but all was calm near the new Comm. Ave. finish line – amazingly calm. The next day, at the Castle, he found that nobody was allowed in the Charlesmark or Mandarin Hotels as the emergency personnel thought they were official crime scenes and that they may not be open for nearly a week. The SRO reported this to MEMA Director Schwartz who called the FBI and got a clarification that only Boylston Street was the crime scene so soon the hotels could open their side and back doors and Marathoners, their families and others could get their IDs, credit cards, clothing, etc. and leave the city. Kevin also said that he noticed that MA VOAD members, in general, were still a little too involved in personal duties as opposed to organizing VOAD as a united force.
Bob Herrmann said that volunteers were asking how to help so he is now pushing them toward One Fund Boston and donating blood to the Red Cross.
Hector Ball said that Arlene Magoon of FEMA has been coordinating daily with MEMA.
Board and Staff of MA VOAD