BOSTON (March 29, 2022) — The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) canteen is a welcoming sign of relief when disaster strikes. On Friday, March 25, 2022, emergency management representatives, Salvation Army volunteers, and other valued guests commemorated The Salvation Army’s EDS Centennial in the City of Boston at the non-profit organization’s South End Corps. A proclamation from Mayor Michelle Wu urged fellow Bostonians to celebrate The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services on March 25, 2022 which she declared to “The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Centennial Day” in the City of Boston.
“As we celebrate our first 100 years, we are honored to be surrounded by so many of the people who have played a significant role in EDS’ success,” said Emily Mew, State Coordinator, The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services. “Over the past century, it has been a privilege for our Salvation Army officers to work alongside our trained and dedicated volunteers. Together we have served thousands of first responders and survivors at local disasters such as the Boston Marathon Bombings, historic fires including the Cocoanut Grove, and emergency response events, including Inauguration Night. Our work would not be possible without our amazing community partners. Throughout our history they have worked every day—no matter the time or the weather—to help our neighbors in their greatest times of need.”
Community partners who were on hand to help The Salvation Army acknowledge this milestone included Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey, Dawn Brantley, Acting Director of Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Pat Carnevale, Deputy Director of MEMA, John Soares, President, Boston Firefighters Local 718, Benjamin McNeil, Assistant Deputy Chief, City of Boston Office of Emergency Management, along with representatives from Boston Sparks Association, the American Red Cross of Massachusetts, and the Boston Fire and Police Departments.
“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. “As the Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services celebrates 100 years of service to Boston and Massachusetts, we thank them for their strong partnership with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and their work to assist so many disaster survivors.”
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 EDS teams were able to mobilize quickly to help with emergency feeding because we are in communities before, during, and after disaster strikes.
“The Salvation Army means so much to so many people. As a firefighter, I have seen how they’re there when people are in need,” said Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey during the celebration. “It’s truly amazing to see how they perform their mission. Like most heroes, they quietly do God’s work without the accolades. That work will never be done and for that we are fortunate to have The Salvation Army.”
In recognition of the EDS Centennial in Boston, two longtime dedicated volunteers who have given countless hours to help neighbors in Boston and across the Commonwealth were given those accolades. Rick Reinhardsen, a volunteer with The Salvation Army’s Martha’s Vineyard Service Unit, and Dave MacDonald, a volunteer with The Salvation Army in Fitchburg, were honored for their outstanding service to The Salvation Army in their local communities and in Boston during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Friday’s EDS Centennial, The Salvation Army also announced that it will be receiving the gift of a new 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 in late 2022.
For more information on The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services can be found at www.salvationarmyma.org.
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 recently deployed to support local emergency management with food and hydration along the 2021 Boston Marathon route, on election and inauguration nights, the Government Center Garage Collapse, and at funerals of fallen heroes. For more information visit SalvationArmyMA.org/EDS.