It’s been about two-and-a-half months since the Boston Marathon bombing took lives and injured dozens. For many, it’s just the beginning of a long road to recovery – and the American Red Cross is there to support that journey.
After the bombs hit, the American Red Cross opened a Family Assistance Center to meet with families of the injured or killed. We provided financial grants to 41 families with injured loved ones to cover costs of clothing, meals, parking, hotel stays, phone cards, travel to hospitals, mental health co-pays, medication co-pays, eyeglasses and other needs.
The support for these families continues with financial assistance, referrals and advocacy casework. Caseworkers are connecting with these families at least once every week to discuss and unmet needs they have, and we intend to continue providing grants until the One Fund Boston has been distributed. We will continue providing casework and referral services to these families until at least the fall, and are working with other agencies on a federal grant that will enable many continuing services to be funded for the families and the greater community.
The Red Cross is hosting the Long Term Recovery Family Assistance Group to coordinate with agencies providing assistance to the families, like the Office of Victim Assistance, FBI Victim Assistance, the Attorney General’s Office and the Boston Public Health Commission. In addition, we are working with other partner groups to assist the families and greater community including Cambridge Health Alliance, Massachusetts Public Health Department, Riverside Community Care, Massachusetts Psychological Society Disaster Recovery Network, Tufts Paws for People, Massachusetts RMV, Boston PD Homicide Victim Resources, One Fund Boston, and many others.
We have had more than 300 public service ads on the MBTA with Mental Health Coping Skills for the greater community, and at bus shelters in Watertown, Cambridge and Boston. Meanwhile, volunteers are providing Mass Care feeding at family support groups meeting twice a week at a local hospital.
There is still a long road of healing ahead, and the Red Cross will be there. We were there right after the bombs went off, and we were there when the memorial closed on June 24, offering mental health support, snacks, Kleenex and coping cards. We will be there after the One Fund is distributed, and for as long as we’re needed. We are Boston. Boston Strong.