Ford brings Van Campaign to Successful End


The Salvation Army National Capital Area Command Grate Patrol Van Campaign came to a successful close in June, thanks to a generous donation from Ford Motor Company. Now, The Salvation Army can move forward with the purchase a new Ford Transit van for its homeless mobile meals program.

The campaign also received major funding from The Rotary Foundation of Washington, DC, Mark and Lyn McFadden, and regional electricity provider Pepco.

“The Salvation Army is grateful to Ford Motor Company for its generous donation to our Grate Patrol Van Campaign. Ford’s gift, along with contributions from several other community partners, will help us to continue serving the homeless for years to come,” said Major Lewis R. Reckline, Area Commander for The Salvation Army.

Major Reckline also thanked as well numerous local churches, businesses and individual donors from across the community, who stepped forward to help The Salvation Army purchase the new van.

The funds raised will cover the cost and customization of a new Ford Transit van with a high roof and extended wheelbase. The Salvation Army retired the Grate Patrol’s previous van last summer after ten years of faithful service. In the interim, the Emergency Disaster Service canteen was pressed into service to deliver meals. The new Grate Patrol van will hit the streets this fall.

The Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol, which runs every night of the year, delivers an average of 150 nutritious meals, snacks and hydration to men and women at multiple locations throughout downtown DC. Local philanthropist and entrepreneur, Muslim Lakhani, CEO of ML Resources Social Vision, has provided sustained program support for Grate Patrol for the last seven years.

The Salvation Army distributed over 1.3 million meals to the homeless and others in need of something to eat since Grate Patrol began over three decades ago. A full-time outreach coordinator connects clients to needed services including referrals for medical, mental health, and addiction treatment; assistance with employment and permanent supportive housing applications; and transportation funds for job interviews.

Starting Over: Greg’s Story

When Greg moved to DC in 2012, he was completely sober. He found a job managing a restaurant, which is what he was trained to do, and life was good. But, being around alcohol in the restaurant led him to fall into old habits: drinking and drugs. When he found himself getting into trouble, he knew it was time to get help. He entered Harbor Light for a 90-day stay.

[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]“They prepare you with the best tools to be successful.” [/quote]

Greg was no stranger to The Salvation Army when he entered Harbor Light, our addiction treatment facility in Northeast DC. He had struggled with addiction before and had previously participated in the Adult Rehabilitation Center through The Salvation Army in Phoenix. After graduating from the Arizona ARC, Greg was offered a job with The Salvation Army helping other addicts through their time of need. He was able to use his own experiences to help others.

When someone first suggested Greg go to The Salvation Army for help, he didn’t understand why. “I’m not homeless; I don’t need a shelter,” he said. In the years since, he has learned The Salvation Army is much more than that. “They prepare you with the best tools to be successful,” he said. He explained the staff at Harbor Light is there because they are committed to helping others. “The help comes from a very genuine place,” he describes.

Having the experience of helping others with their addiction allows Greg to look at Harbor Light with a keen eye and take advantage of all the opportunities provided. When he’s not in class, Greg enjoys playing basketball with the other guys, reading books from the library, and attending church services. With only a little time left of his stay, Greg says he is ready and feels prepared to graduate the program and move on with his life.

He focuses on recognizing similarities between him and the other clients, rather than looking at differences. Unlike some of the others staying at Harbor Light, Greg grew up in good home with many opportunities. He says his story shows how addiction can affect anyone, regardless of race, economic status, or other factors.

The many services The Salvation Army provides, such as Harbor Light, wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations we receive from the community. Donations help us continue to keep doing the most good in our neighborhoods.

Greg says his current stay at Harbor Light has helped re-direct him to the path he was on before and helped show him the way to recovery. He is grateful for the positive influence The Salvation Army has had on his life.