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Nicklas Backstrom Volunteers with The Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol Program

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom joined Mix 107.3’s Chilli Amar, Tires Plus’s Gary Dexter and Comcast SportsNet’s Lisa Hillary in The Salvation Army’s Grate Patrol program on Monday, Nov. 2. Backstrom, Amar, Dexter and Hillary delivered chicken noodle soup, bread, hot chocolate and cookies to the homeless in eight locations in Washington, D.C. With the temperature changing the Grate Patrol van also had sweatshirts to give the homeless to help with the cooler weather.

The Grate Patrol van started at The Salvation Army’s Harbor Light facility at 6:30 p.m. and stopped at eight locations in the northwest part of Washington, D.C. Backstrom and his fellow volunteers delivered the food and sweatshirts and talked to the homeless about their everyday struggles of living on the streets.

This was a different experience for me, but the people were happy we were there,” said Backstrom, who is the spokesman for the Capitals’ canned food drive at their Nov. 20 game. “We weren’t just there to pass out food, we were there to talk to them and try to help any way we could.”

The Grate Patrol program started in 1985 and operates 365 days a year with service to more than 1,000 individuals each month. Originally the program offered meals alone, but today an outreach coordinator helps homeless get back on their feet. The Grate Patrol got its name from the homeless sleeping on grates to stay warm.

Major Steve Morris from the National Capital Area Command for The Salvation Army also helped out. The Salvation Army is one of the Capital Area Food Bank’s partnering agencies and the beneficiary of the Washington Capitals’ canned food drive on Nov. 20. As a Capitals Area Food Bank partner agency The Salvation Army, receives access to reclaimed and donated products, fresh produce and emergency food commodities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By securing food from the food bank, the partner agencies are able to redirect funds they would normally spend on food to other socio-economic services for their clients.

The Washington Capitals want to encourage fans to volunteer with the Grate Patrol program by either preparing or delivering meals any day of the week. Go to, Facebook: or Twitter: for more information.
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