(CNN) —Patriots Day is the third Monday in April marking the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is also the date for the Boston Marathon every year. It is meant to be a joyful celebration for the city, but yesterday that all changed.
Tragedy struck and lives were changed forever after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon. Instead of celebrating the city, a nation now mourns the loss of three and the injuries of more than 100. But true to the American spirit, there are already people and organizations on the ground helping the victims, and you can join their efforts.
The Red Cross
If you have not yet connected with your loved ones who were running the race, or if you were on the scene and haven't let your loved ones know where you are, please use the Red Cross's Safe and Well website. The Red Cross of Massachusetts is tweeting that it has enough blood, but keep an eye on the twitter feed @RedCross as that may change. The Red Cross also has valuable information about dealing with an emotional crises.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army deployed canteen trucks to the area to provide food. Officers have been dispatched to assist those in need.
"The Salvation Army continues to assist those impacted by the Boston Marathon explosions," Maj. Ivan Rock said. "Canteens were positioned at various sites throughout the city, including the Unified Command Post, the Family Assistance Center and Kenmore Square. An additional canteen roved throughout the impacted area supplying food, snacks and beverages to those in need. As of this morning, 1,729 meals, drinks were supplied to the victims, the families and first responders. The Salvation Army will remain on site at the Family Assistance Center, located at the Park Plaza Castle as long as support is needed."
Rock continued, "The runners, their families, and the first responders also received emotional and spiritual care from 12 Salvation Army officers and 23 Salvation Army staff volunteers. Eight Salvation Army officers were deployed to various hospitals throughout the Boston area offering pastoral care as needed."
Boston Children's Hospital
Ten of the victims were taken to Boston's Children's Hospital. The hospital is updating its website with news as it becomes available. Follow @BostonChildrens on Twitter for updates.
The Children's Hospital website also has useful resources for guidance on how to talk to children after a tragedy.
Utilize social media
People often turn to Twitter for quick ways to connect. If you are in the Boston area and are looking for organizations seeking volunteers, or if you are far away but want to keep up with ways to help, follow the hashtag #BostonHelp on Twitter.
The One Fund Boston
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Menino today announced the formation of The One Fund Boston, the purpose of which is to raise money to help those families most affected by the tragic events that unfolded during Monday’s Boston Marathon.
You can donate at www.onefundboston.org.