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Group Donates Funds for Beans Café Equipment

Published On: Apr 03 2013 07:41:20 AM AKDT   Updated On: Apr 30 2013 10:09:02 AM AKDT
Group Donates Funds for Beans Café Equipment

With 2013 only about a quarter of the way through, a longtime local non-profit group says it’s already seeing big contributions from residents.

Bean’s Café says it’s received record contributions this year from the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows Alaskans to donate all or part of their Permanent Fund Dividend checks to their choice of charities. More than 2,000 people have given the Downtown Anchorage soup kitchen a total of $119,000.

According to Bean’s, people are also honoring the memory of its late executive director, Jim Crockett, by contributing in many other ways.

On Wednesday, Wayland Baptist University presented Bean’s with more than 11,000 rolls of toilet paper donated through its Iditaroll drive. The university started Iditaroll three years ago, after Crockett said Bean’s was in need of toilet paper and going through more than 75 rolls a day.

University spokesperson Brittany Scrogge says toilet paper is something everyone needs on a daily basis.

“Toilet paper is just a simple necessity that nobody really thinks about -- you can’t really live without toilet paper,” Scrogge said.

Also on Wednesday, the Anchorage Hillside Rotary Club presented Bean’s with a brand new convection steam oven, valued at over $17,000.

The Hillside club’s president, Doug Lipinski, says the oven is a gift from all local Rotary Clubs, which had been planning to donate ever since Crockett passed away in November.

“The idea came from the memorial meeting at Gateway Rotary right after Jim had passed…we started talking about what could we do, you know, instead of the traditional flowers at his memorial service,” Lipinski said. “What would be a lasting tribute to Jim Crockett and represent who he was and what kind of person he was…a great Rotarian and excellent leader here at Bean’s.”

The oven will have the cooking speed of a microwave, allowing chefs to produce food at high volumes. The oven is also gas-powered, which could save Bean’s a lot of electricity since the cafe is currently using an electrical cooker.

“It’s our pleasure to produce Beans Café, in memory of Jim Crockett, past director and long time giving Rotarian, a brand new steamer cabinet for use,” Lipinski said Wednesday during the ceremony.

Bean’s kitchen supervisor, Pamela Nichols, says the oven will help her complete her job more efficiently, as well as serving as a reminder of Crockett’s legacy at the facility.

“It will mean that we can get meals out in a timely manner…it also means that we’re getting the support from the community that we really need, “ Nichols said. “I just think we’re all overwhelmed by all the people that have responded in his memory.”

Ken Miller, Bean’s director of development, says it doesn’t matter how people donate, but the overwhelming support is much appreciated.

“They’ve come in so many different ways, whether it’s the toilet paper drive with Wayland Baptist Church, whether it’s the rotaries in Anchorage area donating a convection steam oven for us, or whether it’s Pick. Click.Give.” Miller said.

Beans Café serves as many as 800 meals per day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, but Miller says the last time it had a convection steam oven was at least 30 years ago.

“We’re amazed by the contributions of our community,” Miller said.

Contact Samantha Angaiak