How You Can Help in the Wake of the Boston Marathon Tragedy — and What Others Are Doing

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 15: Carlos Arredondo, who was at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon when two explosives detonated, leaves the scene on April 15, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Two people are confirmed dead and at least 28 injured after at least two explosions went off near the finish line to the marathon. (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

As we’ve seen in the wake of national tragedies, the response of Americans working to help those directly impacted is immediate. The response after the explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in Massachusetts Monday afternoon was no different.

Mercury One — Glenn Beck’s non-profit created to help Americans help each other, as well as emergency responders — established a campaign to collect funds that will be used to support victims and families.

Major disaster relief organizations like the Salvation Army and the Red Cross have put into motion their plans to help as well.

Speaking with TheBlaze, Sgt. Ron Busroe, the national community relations and development secretary with the Salvation Army USA, said they have deployed two canteens, which are like mobile kitchens, with staff and volunteers to provide support. But it’s not just food and drink that they’ll be offering.

“Because we are faith-based, we have trained staff and volunteers to provide emotional and spiritual care,” Busroe said. “People in distress are looking for people to talk to, someone to hold them and sometimes pray with them.”

Busroe offered a couple more suggestions for those outside the Boston area wanting to help or express their concern.

“We never minimize the importance of prayer in a situation like this,” he said.

Another thing Busroe suggested was to write a letter.

“It’s one of those things that doesn’t happen anymore,” Busroe said. “They can express their concern or feeling in a note. It doesn’t have to be to anyone specific. They can send it to the Salvation Army and we’ll see that those notes are distributed.”

Busroe also said three of their own were running in the marathon, which took place on the state holiday, Patriot’s Day. All are safe and accounted for.

As for helping families reunite with those who were runners or spectators at the race. A law enforcement official said cellphone service was been shut down in the Boston area to prevent any potential remote detonations of explosives. With that in mind, family and friends trying to contact each other in the area might have trouble getting through.

The Red Cross established a Safe and Well list where people can list themselves as either “safe” and/or search for those who are listed. The website is loading slowly due to the amount of traffic that comes with a race with 27,000 registered runners, not including all the spectators that would have been the downtown.

(Image: Red Cross screenshot)

Google has established a similar search website as well. Although wireless service might be down, texting and social media updates are being used to connect people too.

The Red Cross in a statement said it would be working with authorities in the next few hours to figure out what it can do to help that is needed most.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.