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Nonprofits face growing need from community

By Shannon Ballard 7:13 AM December 4, 2013

Bean’s Café cook gives back to the place that gave to him

ANCHORAGE - At Bean’s Café, Aaron Dollison has a job he loves: He’s a cook, and around here he is known as the best.

“I don’t like to gloat, but I love when they say it,” Dollison said. “It just makes me happy.”

Almost every day he’s making food for people who can’t afford to buy it themselves. He knows what it means to the people who come to Bean’s,  because he himself once went there in need.

“I’d been here once or twice,” Dollison explained. “I’d made some bad choices.”

On Giving Tuesday that’s what he’s thinking about — giving back to the place he received from.

“I remember where I’ve been,” he said. “I just don’t want someone else to do what I did.”

Bean’s Café, as well as other charities and nonprofits across Alaska, are feeding record numbers of people. Ken Miller, director of development at Bean’s Café, said this year the nonprofit will have about 350,000 meals for children and 300,00 meals for adults.

But that’s not enough.

There are waiting lists of more people who need assistance. Dollison has six kids of his own, and they’ve seen how he’s turned his life around. And now, because of Bean’s, his family continues to grow.

“This is a family, so that’s why I really like it,” he said.

Food really does bring people together, Dollison said.

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