Panhandlers are growing in numbers for many reasons, not the least of which is the ease with which they can get money here in Anchorage. We are a generous city filled with generous individuals; however, it is important to consider that donations to reputable non-profits are more effective than handouts.
One of the biggest hurdles to a change for the better is convincing people that the instant gratification of giving a dollar or two to a panhandler would be better spent by the charities that operate various social service programs across the city.
It is important to stress that individuals SHOULD NOT feel bad about NOT giving money directly to panhandlers. In fact, it is illegal in Anchorage to lure panhandlers into the roadway because it is dangerous.
Real change – not spare change – is the best way to help out panhandlers.
Below is a list of some of the agencies providing real change in people’s lives. These partners work to make a real difference in people’s lives and all provide opportunities to help by volunteering or contributing.
Brother Francis Shelter
Brother Francis Shelter provides temporary, emergency shelter for men and women, an evening meal, and use of shower and laundry facilities, case management services, advocacy, job readiness, and referrals for employment, permanent housing, mental health issues, and treatment options for alcohol and substance abuse.
Brother Francis Shelter provided 77,955 nights of stay and served 3,192 homeless men and women during fiscal year 2010.
In one year, 61,872 meals were served. Providence Health & Services Alaska provides the evening meal and community members donate sandwiches for those missing meal times due to an appointment or work schedule conflict.
The clothing room provided assistance 11,311 times for those seeking basic clothing items. Clean clothes in good condition are needed to help us meet the demand.
For more information on Brother Francis Shelter or to make a donation of food, household furnishings or clothing, call the main line at 276-5590 or click here make a secure online donation.
The underlying premise of Bean’s Café is a deep belief in the inherent dignity of every person, a belief that people respond with kindness when treated kindly, with trust when trusted, and respectfully when respected. Their aim is not to set up a value system – determining what is right or wrong – or a way of life for persons, but to allow them to form their own. In this situation a person is not pressured into acting in a special way, and their eventual response is free, lasting, and more fully themselves.
Bean’s Café is a stand alone, non-sectarian, 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that is community-based and community-supported. Since 1979, Bean’s has maintained a center where the hungry and homeless are provided with hot nutritious meals, a warm and safe day shelter, information and referral assistance to health and human service programs.
Bean’s targets the poorest people in our community, the street people, the homeless, the chronically mentally ill, and the needy elderly. They also serve families in temporary crisis, the seasonally unemployed, and assist various local agencies in the feeding of children.
Bean’s Café exists to provide the most basic of human needs without discrimination or cost to anyone requesting assistance.
Individuals interested in helping Bean’s can volunteer, participate inspecial events, make financial contributions, and make food and material donations.
For more information, contact 274-9595.
Downtown Soup Kitchen
The Downtown Soup Kitchen (DSK) could not function without the generous support from individuals, religious organizations, civic groups, and businesses. No matter who you are- a big corporation or homeschooling family- you can become part of the DSK family through partnering in whatever way is most appropriate for you.
Consider volunteering your time and talents, donating goods and materials, giving your financial support, or participating in our annual Slam'n Salm'n Derby.
Homeward Bound provides the homeless chronic alcoholic with the tools needed to travel the journey home. At Homeward Bound, residents and staff work together to rebuild the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. Only with this foundation, can residents rejoin the world confident and empowered.
Homeward Bound seeks to replace hopelessness with confidence and self-empowerment. Homeward Bound is based on client choice and self-advocacy, as demonstrated by the program’s philosophy of resident self-directed and paced alcohol and financial management. There is only one measurement of success: meaningful, stable and personally satisfying reintegration into whatever community residents choose to rejoin.
Community Bound, begun in 1999, is a complimentary component of Homeward Bound, focusing on employment and housing. Community Bound participants receive an individualized employment training program, an individualized money management strategy and plan, facilitation to return to their community of choice, rental assistance (if needed) and up to 24 months of intensive case management follow-up services.
ReBound, another component of Homeward Bound, offers project-oriented services to a variety of medium and small businesses within the greater Anchorage area. These services may include cleaning up construction sites, minor cleaning and repair to apartment complexes and mobile home parks, landscaping and site preparations for retrofit operations. ReBound may also support task-oriented positions such as arts and crafts production, fire prevention site work, bark beetle kill removal and subsequent wood sales, as well as snow removal.
To learn more about the program, click here.
For over sixteen years Covenant House Alaska has been serving homeless and runaway youth in Alaska. In that time their services have expanded and some of the community needs have changed, but their mission remains the same: “To serve the suffering children of the streets.”
Covenant House Alaska’s sole purpose is to be of value to this community by remaining open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for kids in crisis. Kids come to us in need of shelter, food, clothing, or simply someone to listen to them, and we are committed to being here to help them and their families.
The kids that come to Covenant House Alaska have faced many difficulties in their young lives, but they have not given up hope. They show great courage and determination each day. Though the road is sometimes a long and difficult one, they continue on the path to becoming healthy, self-sufficient, and contributing members of our community. On behalf of the kids, both past and future, seeking help at Covenant House, thank you for supporting our mission and having faith in their future.
Approximately 90% of the funding for Covenant House comes from the generous donations of friends like you — partners in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of at risk youth.
Individuals may donate clothing, hygiene products, recreation items, safety items. Individuals may also make financial donations online or by printing this form and mailing the donation to the address on the form.
For more information, contact 272-1255 or visit http://ak.covenanthouse.org/
United Way is not a social service provider, but they are a leader and partner in making Anchorage a stronger, healthier more compassionate community. They bring donors and volunteers together with community leaders, agencies and other experts to address the most pressing issues in our community.
United Way of Anchorage began as The United Good Neighbor Fund in 1956 for the purpose of raising funds for specific non-profits through a yearly fund-raising campaign. The first campaign raised $269,000. Today United Way has become a driving force in the health & human service arena, with 50 member agencies and raising over $9 million annually.
United Way has two roles in the community – one to provide funding to services that meet specific needs in the community and a second to bring segments of the community together to focus on community solutions. Many individuals and organizations do work together in a uniquely Alaskan manner. The United Way of Anchorage is a leader in developing this spirit of cooperation in our community.
When individuals give to the United Way, their gift stays right here in Anchorage making it a better place for all of us to live and work.United Way of Anchorage knows where the greatest needs are, ensuring funds raised here are invested in the most critical issues of our community.
Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities, or click here to learn about donation opportunities.