From local restaurants offering free food to residents opening up their homes as many area hotels remained shuttered, Boston is banding together to feed and shelter those affected by Monday's terror.
As word spread of the powerful bombs around mile 26 of the Boston Marathon, small-business owner Garrett Harker and his staff sprung into action. Restaurant Eastern Standard staff in Kenmore Square quickly grabbed whatever food was available. Grilled cheese sandwiches, baskets of fruit, granola bars. Water. Coffee to brace against the post-run chill.
'We Are Not Afraid'
"We wanted to do anything we could to improve the situation," said Molly Hopper, a manager at Eastern Standard. On Patriot's Day, an annual rite of spring that many look forward to, locals immediately shifted to all-hands-on-deck and helped stranded runners and others, shocked by the bombings and wandering the streets.
"It was pretty eerie," Hopper said.
El Pelon Taqueira, another restaurant in Kenmore Square and near the Fenway ballpark, quickly Tweeted out: "We have cold drinks, bathrooms, place to charge a phone and a calm place to sit." Declared another Tweet, "We are not afraid."
Boston Residents Circulate Google Doc Offering Free Housing
Lodging remains a major issue for runners and others, who were staying at hotels around Copley Square and the Prudential Center. Many hotels in a roughly 15-block radius of the bombings remain locked down.
"It's like a ghost town in that area. So many hotels are still not letting people in," said Lori Busch, a Boston marathoner, who was stopped just short of the finish line of her first Boston race.
But hearty New Englanders are an industrious bunch.
Runners and residents are circulating a massive Google document, which allows displaced people to register and look for free lodging. Local residents, also listed in the document, are offering their homes up to strangers — for free. The digital document can be shared daily via the Internet.
"If you're in town for the Marathon and need a place to stay, please fill out this information. Here's a list of people who have a place to offer," according to the Google document.
"We have space in our apt for 4 people, or a family who needs a place to stay," according to a posting form a resident in Brighton, Mass. "We have an L couch to offer," declares another posting.
With transportation and access spotty in the affected bombing area, residents have volunteered as drivers.
"I live in Hopkinton — but would happily drive anywhere to pick up a runner who needs food, shelter and comfort," declared another resident.