Athol Salvation Army Corps joins Boston Marathon volunteers

This year, seven volunteers with the Salvation Army Athol Corps were at the 128th Boston Marathon to provide food and drinks. Pictured left to right are philanthropist Dan Flatley and Salvation Army volunteers and coordinators.

This year, seven volunteers with the Salvation Army Athol Corps were at the 128th Boston Marathon to provide food and drinks. Pictured left to right are philanthropist Dan Flatley and Salvation Army volunteers and coordinators. PHOTO CREDIT/SALVATION ARMY MASSACHUSETTS DIVISION

Several Salvation Army Athol Corps volunteers helped provide drinks and snacks at Monday's Boston Marathon. Pictured here (second from right) is Athol Salvation Army Coordinator Dan Parsons.

Several Salvation Army Athol Corps volunteers helped provide drinks and snacks at Monday's Boston Marathon. Pictured here (second from right) is Athol Salvation Army Coordinator Dan Parsons. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO—

By MAX BOWEN

Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 04-15-2024 4:31 PM

Modified: 04-16-2024 1:10 PM


ATHOL — Though they may not have been among the runners, the Salvation Army Athol Corps played an important role in the 128th Boston Marathon.

The corps sent two vehicles — their mobile feeding unit, also known as a “canteen,” and a minivan — to help deliver food along a section of the marathon route near Natick.

The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services had eight vehicles along this year’s route, including the Massachusetts Division’s signature Command Center and a new canteen truck which took 18 months to build and arrive, features ovens, power, water and refrigerators. The new canteen truck, stationed in Cleveland Circle and Boston, can prepare 2,000 meals, and distribute 2,500 snacks and 3,000 drinks, according to information provided by The Salvation Army.

The new truck was made possible by a donation from Dan Flatley, a Boston-based philanthropist and CEO of the Flatley Foundation.

Athol Coordinator Dan Parsons was among the seven volunteers sent on Monday, April 15. He met up with Mark Anderson with the Greater Boston Advisory Board of the Salvation Army.

“It seems like each year we’re becoming more prominent,” Parsons said.

The Athol group set up in Natick. From there, they served meals to members of the security staff and made stops at three medical tents and two bus stops via the minivan, also known as the “Rabbit Car.”

This is the fifth time that the Athol Corps has been a part of the marathon. The year after the marathon bombing, the corps sent volunteers to help bring people to counseling centers. Parsons said although security is at the back of everyone’s mind, this year’s marathon had a “carnival” feel with the music, cheering and children enjoying the day.

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“People play drums along the route, there are people playing music,” he said. “The kids are all excited, holding signs. It’s a nice day out for a lot of families, I can tell.”

Max Bowen can be reached at mbowen@atholdailynews.com or 413-930-4074.