Posted: Jan 06, 2014 10:46 PM ESTUpdated: Jan 06, 2014 10:57 PM EST
The homeless are some of the District’s most vulnerable population. They are at serious risk of hypothermia as we face extreme cold temperatures.
The Salvation Army is trying to make sure those who refuse to come in out of the cold will be warm Monday night. It sends out its “Grate Patrol,” looking for homeless people trying to warm themselves on sidewalk grates above hot steam and water pipes.
Salvation Army staffers and volunteers handed out hot chili over rice, a small bag of fruit, granola bars and hot chocolate. They made stops all over downtown Northwest D.C., starting at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue.
Most of the homeless who came to the van for blankets and hot food refused a social worker’s invitation to help them find temporary shelter.
The Grate Patrol operates 365 days a year, giving out food and blankets even when it isn’t cold. One man, who spoke to FOX 5, said if it weren’t for the Patrol, he probably would not have had anything to eat tonight.
Some of the volunteers who rode along are high school and college students, and help out because they realize the hardship and reality facing some less fortunate than them.