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Boston residents offer victims shelter via Google doc

Sometimes disasters bring out the best in people.


Kevin Collier


Posted on Apr 15, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 6:29 pm CDT

Sometimes disasters bring out the best in people. In the case of Monday’s explosions at the Boston Marathon, that means people offering up their homes to those displaced by the tragedy.

And they’re doing so simply through a Google doc.

Hundreds of people in and around Boston have filled out the plain form, allowing them to offer strangers space if they need it. “we have a one pull out couch and space for about 2-4 others,” wrote one man in Brookline, a suburb just to the west of the city.

“Space for one person on a pull-out couch. Will cook you a nice meal too! Call or email me!” offered a woman who lives in Fenway-Kenmore, the neighborhood of the Red Sox’s famous baseball stadium.

Visitors can also fill out form if they’re looking for a place to stay—noting how many they’re travelling with, and if they have special needs—to help match them with a kind soul who’ll offer them lodging.

There’s a wide swath of amenities available. Users offer Internet access, rides, and free meals. Those in need can sleep on a futon, couch, or queen-size bed—or with dogs, cats, and in one case, a rabbit.

“[I’ve] run the marathon and want to help,” wrote one man. “Have room for two or a family.”

As with any online-only exchange, users should express caution and use their best judgment. But here’s hoping these surprising acts of kindness are another silver lining to a tragic afternoon.

Photo by Randy Son Of Robert/Flickr

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*First Published: Apr 15, 2013, 8:00 pm CDT