St. Columba's Episcopal Church

Second Tuesday Grate Patrol

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The Second Tuesday Grate Patrol, launched in March 2015, offers up food and fellowship to people who are homeless and in need in seven-plus locations in downtown Washington, in partnership with The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command. St. Columbans ride on The Salvation Army canteen van and serve an evening meal that other St. Columbans have purchased and prepared. St. C’s takes its Grate Patrol name from the evening of the month (the second Tuesday) that we serve our meals.

The Salvation Army Grate Patrol has been delivering an evening meal 365 days a year in downtown Washington to people in need for more than twenty years. St. C’s joins 24 other faith, business and civic groups, including five other Episcopal churches and one Episcopal school to partner with The Salvation Army.

There are three ways to serve in this vital ministry: Shopping for the food, helping to prepare the meals, and volunteering to ride the van and serve the meals. Volunteers sign up for a one-time commitment in a given month. Families have strongly embraced all three service opportunities.

Shopping: There are two monthly ministry opportunities available.
1) Shop for the food and supplies needed for the 150 meals and make sure they are at St. C’s on the Sunday morning before the second Tuesday, so Columbans can prepare the meals. 2) Buy bottled water and fruit for 150 and deliver to St. C’s by 5:45 pm on the second Tuesday of the month. You will have a shopping list, guidelines for spending and be reimbursed.

Preparing the meals: Help prepare meals at St. C’s on the Sunday before the second Tuesday of the month. You may sign up ahead of time or just show up. The wrapper or announcements will communicate the meeting time and location. You can also volunteer to help meet the food deliverers and help set up and shepherd this high-energy meal assembly.

Serving the meals: Be one of four Columbans to accompany the crew on The Salvation Army van to help serve the meals on the second Tuesday of the month. Arrive at St. C’s by 5:45 pm to help load the food and supplies on The Salvation Army van at St. Columba’s when it arrives at 6 pm on the second Tuesday of the month. Then hop on the van and ride to deliver food and fellowship to hungry neighbors in need in seven locations in downtown Washington. The route starts at Union Station at 7 pm and concludes at McPherson Square. The Salvation Army van will return you to St. C’s between 9:15-9:30 pm. You must sign up and be confirmed ahead of time!

For more details on each of these opportunities or to volunteer for one of these opportunities in a given month, contact Commitments are for a one-time service experience, but we welcome your return!

Coordinators: Alex Acosta, Mary Beth Campbell and Abigail Gorman (

Photo: Mary Beth Campbell

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