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Money is tight in the charity business. But the Federal City Shelter, operated by the Community for Creative Non-Violence, has discovered a new group of benefactors: the homeless themselves. On a Monday evening, shelter residents line up at dinnertime to get $2 plates of chicken, rice, and greensan optional “fundraiser” meal. Until recently, the shelter provided only free meals, donated by D.C. Central Kitchen. Now, residents can choose between the free meals and the paid ones. Antoinette Bridges, the shelter’s interim executive director, says that the facility’s funding has dropped and that the meals, which generate anywhere between $50 and $75 a night, help pay for toiletries and cleaning supplies. “The way we get funding is through donations,” Bridges says, adding that the meals are a logical extension of fundraising. The dinners have proved successful enough that the first-floor wing is now home to a $1 breakfast, too. Jason Cherkis