Bean’s Cafe launches phase 2 of its ‘hunker down, step up’ initiative

 Bean's Cafe sign
Bean's Cafe sign (KTUU)
Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 5:23 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Bean’s Cafe is putting out another call for help but launching the second phase of its ‘hunker down, step up’ initiative. Last March when the pandemic hit Alaska, Bean’s made a goal to raise $500,000 to provide pantry packs to families in need.

“We realized that needs had changed from just being able to feed kids to all of a sudden we were needing to feed entire families,” says Diane Arthur, development and communications director of Bean’s Cafe and the Children’s Lunchbox program. “And one of the best ways that we could do that is through our pantry pack program.”

Pantry packs are shelf-stable boxes of food that can feed a family of four. “Low and behold, within a few months we had raised $500,000, so it exceeded our expectations, our community is so incredibly generous,” says Arthur.

But now, in the first month of 2021, Arthur says it has become increasingly clear that the community is still in need of help.

“We’re still seeing record numbers of unemployed, we’re still seeing record numbers of individuals who are needing our assistance,” says Arthur. “Our situation isn’t getting any better, we’re not improving, and so we have recognized that we need to step up again and we’re broadening our horizons this time in that we are raising money for not only these pantry packs but also fresh meals that will be distributed.”

According to the Food Bank of Alaska, nearly 100,000 Alaskans — roughly one in seven — struggled with hunger in 2016, with the number growing due to unemployment caused by the pandemic.

“In this situation, we like to tell people that $10 is all it takes to feed 1 family for a meal, so if $10 is what somebody can donate, we’re completely happy with that,” says Arthur.

Donations can be made on the Bean’s Cafe website, the Bean’s Cafe Facebook page or the Children’s Lunchbox Facebook page.

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