IKEA, the furniture and home fashions store, situated in Burbank, California, has an event every Monday morning. The regular 99 cent breakfast is free, if you become a Ikea member the coffee is always free. So any other day of the week you pay only 99 Cents for scrambled eggs, potato, and a couple sausages.
We decided to go undercover and have a volunteer investigate to find out if there really is a free breakfast and if the place is "full of homeless."
Our first encounter with another shopper was with a person who said they were a liberal and in teaching but that "all these homeless people" eating free was giving a "wrong message."
So we looked around, expecting to see a lot of people who were clearly street homeless, dirty, stinky, possibly carrying garbage in with them - you know the stereotype.
To our surprise and pleasure we were there for over an hour before we spotted any Burbank homeless that we know of. Otherwise we saw that there were a great number of senior citizens - most likely on a budget - and that even the homeless we know of were clean and neat. We think that IKEA does this breakfast to attract shoppers on a slow day but the event appears to also be a community service.
Later, sitting with one of Burbank's senior citizens sitting alone till we arrived, we learned that many local seniors high-tail it over to IKEA to socialize together and keep within their food budgets.
IKEA has donated to homeless causes in the past. For instance, Ikea provided furnishings for one of Los Angeles Family Housing's HUD/ Mental Health voucher building projects where the spare modern designs worked well with concrete floors.
IKEA has a number of other low priced food items for sale during the breakfast and at other times during the day including muffins, corn bread, and their Swedish meatballs.
We hope the store will keep it up.
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