Volunteer at Homeless Bagged Meal Program

A-SPAN’s Homeless Bagged Meal Program (HBMP) is a completely volunteer-run program at the foundation of A-SPAN’s work on the streets of Arlington.  Volunteers prepare and serve up to 50 meals per night at an outdoor location near Virginia Square.  Each recipient of the HBMP receives one bagged meal, prepared by volunteers, and one portion of hot food, provided by the Chef or Cook at A-SPAN. To get involved, volunteers may sign up to prepare the bagged meals, serve the meals, or both if available.

Hours and Locations

6pm, Monday – Tuesday: St. George’s Episcopal Church, 914 N. Oakland Street, Arlington.
– Learn more about the St. George’s Episcopal Church HOST Program, a vital partner program of the A-SPAN HBMP.

6pm, Wednesday – Sunday: Oakland Park, N. Oakland Street & N. 9th Street, Arlington (near the Virginia Square metro station)


Homeless Bagged Meal Program – Prepare

Daily: 9am to 5:30pm

Volunteers purchase the groceries and supplies needed to make 50 bagged meals and then prepare the meals at their own location. The cost for groceries and supplies is approximately $150. Volunteers must wear gloves when handling food during this activity.

Each bagged meal should include:HBMP Volunteers

2 sandwiches (preferably non-pork)
1 savory snack (preferably not hard granola)
1 sweet snack
1 soft fruit item (preferably citrus fruit*)
1 beverage

Preparation volunteers must deliver the bagged meals to Oakland Park by 6pm sharp on the day they are scheduled to volunteer. 

The serving volunteers will meet at Oakland Park as well, where they will distribute the bagged meals along with the soup provided by A-SPAN’s Kitchen. The bagged meals will be part of a complete dinner for up to 50 people!

This is a great group activity for churches, schools, businesses, neighborhoods and families!

Here’s a sample shopping list for preparation volunteers:

Approximately 12 loaves of bread (enough for 100 sandwiches)
Sufficient filling for 100 sandwiches with deli meat (preferably non pork) and cheese (lettuce, tomatoes and condiments optional)
50 savory snacks (pretzels, crackers, etc.)
50 sweet snacks (granola bars, cookies, etc.)
50 fruit items (fruit cocktail, apple sauce, bananas, oranges, etc.*)
50 individual beverages (bottle water, juice boxes, etc.)
50 brown paper bags
100 plastic sandwich bags (if needed: 100 additional plastic bags for snacks not individually packaged)
Food service gloves for all preparation volunteers

*Please no apples due to dental hygiene


Homeless Bagged Meal Program – Serve

Daily: 5:30pm to 6:30pm

Pick Up: 2020A 14th St. North, Loading Dock (A-SPAN Homeless Services Center)

Volunteers will pick up containers of hot food from A-SPAN’s Homeless Services Center by 5:45 pm. Volunteers load the hot food and a supply crate into their vehicle and transport everything to Oakland Park by 6pm. These items are located inside the doors by the loading dock, on the side of the Center on Troy Street.

Meal Service: 915 N. Oakland St. (St. George’s/Oakland Park)

Volunteers will drive to St. George’s Episcopal Church (Mon-Tues) or Oakland Park (Wed-Sun) where they will meet the preparers to transfer the bagged meals to the serving vehicle.  Serving volunteers will then distribute one bagged meal and one hot portion to each person at 6pm. Seconds may be served beginning at 6:15pm.

Return: 2020A 14th St. North, Loading Dock (A-SPAN Homeless Services Center)

Volunteers will  return to the Homeless Services Center to return the supply crate and hot food containers to the area inside the loading dock. *NOTE: hot food containers should be empty and clean. All leftover soups and/or bagged meals should be taken inside the elevator to the second floor kitchen. Please notify staff so they can refrigerate the leftovers to be served for lunch the next day.

Sign Up


If you’ve never volunteered with A-SPAN before or you’re new to our online Volunteer Information Center, get started now by submitting your A-SPAN Volunteer Application Form.

To check the Homeless Bagged Meal Program volunteer schedule and to sign up for available shifts, please log in to the A-SPAN Volunteer Information Center.

All new volunteers must complete a Volunteer Orientation Session before they are able to sign up for volunteering shifts. Please email Gabrielle Goodson at ggoodson@a-span.org for information on upcoming Volunteer Orientation Sessions.

For more information or to schedule a time to discuss volunteer activities, contact Gabrielle Goodson at ggoodson@a-span.org or 703-228-7815.