Bean's Cafe has that rare combination of an amazing and selfless staff, a committed Board of Directors, generous in both time and treasure, and a deep pool of volunteers quick to respond when help is needed. Bean's Cafe enjoys a community which (largely) supports the mission of Bean's, as demonstrated by the hundreds of turkeys and side dishes donated for Bean's annual Thanksgiving feast. While still thought of as a soup kitchen for the homeless, today's reality is somewhat different. Many of Bean's clients are Alaska's working poor, struggling to keep a roof over their heads, their kids in school and hunger from their doorstep. Bean's mission has broadened in recent years. Bean's now serves an overflow shelter when temperatures plunge and our neighbor, The Brother Francis Shelter's demand exceeds its capacity. Bean's "The Children's Lunchbox" has a mission of 'feeding hungry kids in a safe community environment!". Children's Lunchbox has served nearly 240,000 meals to hungry kids in 2012, up from less than 100,000 in 2010. To learn more about Bean's Cafe and its programs, visit beans cafe.org and thechildrenslunchbox.org. While you're there, why not "Donate Online". Thanks.
I have served as a board memberwith Bean's Cafe for over 30 years' ,starting in the late 1970's when it occupied a small warehousey fronting on an alley. We served hot food with coffee made by re-brewing used coffee grounds from a local hotel. With the support of many people, we moved in 1985 to our present building at 3rd & Karluk, with a wonderful commercial kitchen that produces high-quality nutritious meals and consistently receives the highest health inspection ratings. When I first joined the board, Bean's was not yet a member of United Way.. I have seen it grow to a highly rated United Way agency , blessed with broad community support. Our mission remains the same-- to provide hot meals and warm day shelter to homeless people . The need is enormous and we are now serving many people who are not chronically homeless, but who have been affected by job losses in the present economy. Through Children's Lunchbox, a program of Bean's Cafe, we are now also serving nutritious meals to needy children at numerous sites around Anchorage. All this is possilble because we continue to be blessed with generous community support. Our mission remains the same -- to serve the hungry and the homeless 365 days a year, Our underlying premise, as always, is a deep belief in the dignity of every person and a dedication to treaing all out clients with kindness and respect. I am excited and proud to serve on tghe board of this wonderful organization which makes such a difference in many peoples' lives. Abbe Dunning-Newbury
The staff & volunteers at Beans Cafe make a tremendous difference in our community. As a board member I'm very proud to be involved with is organization! TOGETHER WE ALL CAN MAKE DIFFERENCE. Kim Frensley
“Any organization that serves over 313,000 free meals and provides over 35,000 medical items in one year is a monumental support to society, but Bean’s Café goes above and beyond those outstanding numbers. They’re more than just a soup kitchen; Bean’s Café actively assists those who need it with help finding jobs, medical care, housing and more. They are trusted community partners, a resource for those who need help with the most basic human necessities and a valuable asset to Alaskans – especially Alaskans in need. Credit Union 1’s partnership with this crucial non-profit has been beneficial for over a decade and we fully support them in their mission by hosting annual fundraising events like “Pour,” helping to promote and advertise for “The Empty Bowl,” and incorporating them into events like the Mountain View Street Fair whenever possible because we believe in what they do. This is a great non-profit organization and others would benefit from following their model to support their communities.”
Review from Guidestar
I wasn't always a board member at Bean's Cafe. Although I recently moved into a new job, I spent the last decade as a journalist in Anchorage. For years I covered Bean's cafe in the news. Mostly the good the organization was doing for the homeless community in our city. In recent years however I continually found myself reaching out to Bean's as several members of the homeless community were dying on our streets. Bean's and director Jim Crockett were always there to offer insight into the death, or even humanize the person who had passed away. It's easy to forget that homeless people have families too and stories and lives that matter. Jim made sure the public knew who the "homeless person" really was.
When the issue came to a head in the last year, our station decided to host a Town Hall on the issue and asked Jim if we could use Bean's Cafe for the live televised event. Of course he agreed and we had an extrememly successful event. But perhaps most importantly, it wasn't a room filled with lawmakers and politicians, but a room filled with people who think of Bean's as their home. They offered important and essential insight into what was happening.
When I left television a few months ago, there was no question which organization would join as a board member and I expressed as much to Jim. Not only was I committed to the mission, but as someone whose family had once faced significant financial difficulties and was forced out fo home, it is a mission near and dear to my heart.
I am now a board member and learning so much more about Bean's. I had volunteered in the kitchen several times through my church, but now I get to see a new side of Beans.
The mission is simple "Feed the hungry and shelter the homeless without discrimination during the day."
But by doing that each day Bean's offers members of the homeless community they don't get anywhere else: respect and dignity. That is perhaps the geatest gift of Bean's.
I think that Bean's is working to become more tech savy and use the web to its advantage. I agree we need some younger members on the board. Also, as funding for other non-profits gets tight, we should look to strategic partnerships to leverage opportunities for growth.
As a new board member, I hesitate to offer too many suggestions as I am still learning about the internal workings of theorganization. So far, I have been impressed with Bean's board.
Review from Guidestar