St Paul’s Parish Grate Patrol (NW DC)January 10, 2012
Every week, a dedicated team of volunteers meets at St Paul’s Episcopal Parish on K Street to organize and deliver meals for the homeless in the surrounding neighborhood. Friday afternoons, one group prepares the food and arranges the brown bags – which include sandwiches, fruit, hard boiled eggs, and coffee – and on Saturday and Sunday mornings before dawn, another group sets off to drop the food at locations around downtown.
The make-up of the volunteers changes each week – some are parishoners at St Paul’s, some are from other communities; there are families, college students, and young professionals – but the core team has been with the program for nearly 30 years. There is a strong sense of camaraderie amongst the Friday group, as well as a closeness between the Patrolers and the individuals they serve. Tina Mallett, one of the Patrol’s original members, says she knows that this small amount of food alone probably isn’t going to change the life of someone living on the street (the delivery program is just one element of a assistance effort coordinated between various local organizations), but she hopes that the Grate Patrol’s consistency will show the homeless of DC that there are people who care for their wellbeing.