What originally started as just a party for friends has become an important fundraiser for the Tooele County Food Bank.
Sean Heap’s Beanstock Benefit has gone from a small gathering up Settlement Canyon to a major event at Deseret Peak Complex in just five years, attracting more than 400 people, collecting more than one and a half tons of food and raising nearly $3,000 for the food bank.
“It started getting attention, so I figured if this many people were interested in it, we might as well do something good for the community and try to make it a benefit for the food bank,” Heap said. “Five years ago, I read in the paper that the food bank was ready to shut their doors. We got a lot of people and we were surprised at how many people stopped by. It keeps getting bigger and better every year.”
This year’s Beanstock Benefit will take place Aug. 21-22 at the Deseret Peak Complex. Attendees are asked to donate either cash or a bag of groceries to benefit the food bank. A year ago, the more than 400 people in attendance donated 3,329 pounds of food and $2,896.
Not bad for an event that started out as just a group of friends getting together.
“I wanted to let people in the community know that anybody can do something like this,” Heap said. “You don’t have to be a big corporation. Hopefully we can continue to do this with the help of the city.”
There is additional motivation for holding the Beanstock Benefit during the summer. According to Heap, the food bank usually struggles to get many donations during the summer months, in contrast to the wintertime, when donations increase around the holidays.
“The people who live here can help the other people who live here who are less fortunate,” Heap said. “Giving without the expectation of anything in return is the most gratifying. It’s such a tight-knit community. I’ve grown up here and lived here my entire life and know tons of people out here. I went to Tooele [High School], played football at Tooele and know all the people, so it’s nice to see them come out and rally for something like this. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s a lot of fun, too. It’s gratifying knowing that we’re doing something for the community we live in.”
Heap noted that none of this would be possible without the support of a number of people who have made a commitment to helping Beanstock become a success. Local musician Misi Touhuni has been “instrumental” in helping get local bands to come and play at the benefit, Heap said. Sherie and Rocky Jaramillo, Jimmie Emerson and Steven and Lisa Martinez also have played a big role, according to Heap, as has Lorri Trujillo, the manager of the Tooele County Food Bank, which provides a truck to help transport all the donations.
“There’s a small group of people who are instrumental in making sure this all happens every year,” he said. “We’re by no means rich folks so it takes a little village.
“People are willing to put in that commitment. People have latched on and helped keep it going with raising money, doing little charity bike rides and things like that to help get the initial cost. Initial cost to get the thing going is $4,000 or so. They’ve been able to get that money plus enough money to donate to the food bank.”
Beanstock still is looking to get bands lined up for this year’s edition. Heap said five or six bands usually will play on that Saturday night, which also includes a potluck dinner and a pig roast courtesy of Steven and Lisa Martinez.
There also will be an acoustic jam session on Aug. 21, where there will be a small stage set up in the camping area for anyone who wishes to come up and display their musical talents.