Bean’s Cafe History
Bean’s Cafe began with a simple vision: a warm place where those in need can find com- fort, warmth, and a helping hand. Our organization was founded by Lynn Ballew, a pro- fessor and humanitarian. She and her daughter, nicknamed ‘Bean’, moved to Alaska in 1978 and immediately began to seek the help of the community to start her shelter, which she named Bean’s Cafe.
On February 20, 1979 Lynn leased an empty warehouse across from the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Anchorage. The first to arrive were the street people – they helped paint, remodel, arrange furniture, and organize the space. Word spread of Lynn’s efforts, and people from around the world came to offer their support.
Soon Bean’s Cafe was a vision realized – a place for the homeless and hungry to eat, rest, read, watch TV, make a phone call, or just relax. In 1985, Bean’s Cafe relocated to a brand new building with facilities, programs, and services – and that is where it stands today, at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Karluk Street in the heart of Anchorage.
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