ANCHORAGE -

Ask anyone at Bean’s Café and they can tell you, Aaron Dollison is one of the hardest workers around.

He’s been working since 5:30 a.m. in the kitchen making food for the non-profit’s 35th year of serving the homeless community in Anchorage. Dollison used to be a client here but the organization helped him turn his life around and offered him a job in the kitchen.

“All I knew about was drugs and now I know different, that you can work for what you want and it feels good to get paid the right way,” Dollison said.

He’s one of many Bean’s Café has helped off the streets and into the work force. But on this celebration of the past 35 years, it looks towards the future to do more than just feed the hungry and offer shelter during the day.

“Some clients had come to use and said that we are really interested in getting help to stop drinking,” said Staci Feger-Pellessier, Marketing Outreach Manager at Bean’s. “So we contacted AA and had a meeting with them, talked about setting up some groups here but the biggest thing that stopped us was that we had no private space.”

Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, the non-profit is getting that space and hopefully more programs too that will help give people who suffer from drug and alcohol abuse a second chance.

“Sometimes you have to believe in them enough so that they can believe in themselves and that’s really what this extra space and what these programs are going to allow us to do,” Feger-Pellessier said.

Just ask Dollison, he’s a product of “Bean’s success”.

“I can make myself better, you know, that I can give back to the community,” Dollison said.

Feger-Pellessier said they hope construction for the additional space will be done by the winter so clients can start using it during the non-profits busiest time of year.

Caslon Hatch Reporter -- KTUU Channel 2 Anchorage, Alaska (907) 762 - 9241