ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

It's been a tradition since 1989. The community of Bean's Café gathers together to honor all the people connected with the nonprofit who have passed away over the years.

Bean's executive director Lisa Sauder says it's a chance to recognize the people who were a part of the group.

"Many of these people don't have a lot of family support, and truly Bean's Café and the clients and staff here have become their family and their close friends," Sauder said. "It's very important that we keep their memory alive."

The group held a candlelight vigil inside the Bean's location on Friday, where more than 600 names, from clients to volunteers, were read aloud.

Clients like Chris Jamison, who read names during the vigil. He says the event isn't a time for goodbyes, but rather, a time for reflection.

"It's not necessarily mourning their loss, but a celebration of their life," Jamison said.

Jamison didn't realize he knew some of the people named until he heard his friend Martha Thomas' name called.

"I didn't know a good friend of mine passed away until today, and it was very touching, very emotional," Jamison said.

While it was a surprise for some, others like Daniel Garcia say it was a time to make sure everyone feels noticed.

"A lot of times these people don't feel that way and it's nice to show them that we care and even after they're gone you are going to remember them," Garcia said.

Garcia has been a client and volunteer for Bean's Café over the last few years, and says he's in between jobs as a fish processor. Beans allows him to spend time with those he calls "family."

"It makes me feel good," Garcia said. "Those are my friends, and if I can help them out you know in any way I can, I like to do that."

For Garcia, honoring those who passed away is a bittersweet feeling.

"It's hard to know that they're gone, and in some circumstances that led up to that, but you know that they're in a better place and I'm happy for that," Garcia said.

While it can be difficult at times to think about the people who have passed, the message Bean's Café carries is a powerful one.

"We like to show our clients who are here now that even though they're gone we're not going to forget them," Garcia said.

Sauder says Bean's Cafe will start new volunteer initiatives after the first of January 2014. They'll be looking for groups to plan birthday parties for their clients.