A familiar event will be in a new location this year.
Beardstock 2012, an annual benefit concert for the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, will be held March 2 at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall, which is located in Old Main on the campus of Minot State University. In previous years it was held at the Grand International.
Dan Hansen, the benefit concert's founder and organizer, said there is a lot to look forward to this year, which will be Beardstock's fourth. Spicy Pie is giving away free pizza, there will be T-shirts for sale and there are also many prizes up for grabs. Non-perishable food items will be collected, and Hansen said the person who brings the most items will win a prize. The best beard contests will also be back, with prizes for the best real beard and the best fake beard. Details for the fake beard contest can be found on the Facebook page of Fourth Annual Beardstock.
Submitted Photo - - Dan Hansen, founder and organizer of Beardstock, speaks during the 2011 event.
"The homeless coalition really took a hard hit this past year because of the flood," Hansen said. "They were really depleted of their resources from helping so many people during the flood. So what we're trying to do this year is put on the biggest and most successful Beardstock so far."
Louis "Mac" McLeod, executive director of the Minot Area Homeless Coalition, said while they did help more people during the first two months after the flood than is normal for that time period, they also have been helping more people overall.
"Our numbers were extremely high again this year, as they were the year before. We served over 6,000 individuals in 2010, and last year it was 5,223," McLeod said. "Which just tells us that there is an ongoing problem of people of need."
Beardstock 2012 will take place Friday at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall in Old Main on the campus of Minot State University. The concert will run from 5 to 11 p.m., with a suggested donation of $5 per person for admission. Along with free pizza while supplies last, there will be best real beard and best fake beard contests. In addition to the $5 suggested donation, non-perishable food items will also be collected. All proceeds and non-perishable goods will be donated to the Minot Area Homeless Coalition.
"What I need people to understand is that's not just Minot," McLeod added. "We have seven counties we deal with."
McLeod noted the number of people they helped during and after the flood would have been even greater had it not been for many people getting assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other organizations.
Although helping the homeless is certainly one of the homeless coalition's major functions, it's hardly the only one. McLeod said they work with the food pantries and soup kitchens in the area, and also help people just trying to get back on their feet. This can include helping people replace a lost picture ID or paying the first month of rent or security deposit for an apartment. The homeless coalition also helps maintain people in their housing.
"If an individual is at risk of being evicted because they can't pay their rent, we're one of the agencies who can step in and pay that rent," McLeod said.
Education and community awareness are also things the homeless coalition does. McLeod said last year they spoke to over 1,100 people. As part of the state homeless coalition, they can also give information and referrals so people know where to find help.
"There's quite a bit that we do," McLeod said.
Beardstock was moved from the Grand International to MSU because all three campus ministries Lutheran Campus Ministry, Chi Alpha and Campus Crusade for Christ will be helping this year.
Hansen had been involved with each club from his time at MSU, and has also been helping them out recently. He knew all the ministries had been wanting to do something together for a while, so he reached out to the leaders of all three and pitched his idea about working together on Beardstock to help promote their clubs and to promote volunteerism.
"They had been trying to plan to do an event together or something together for a while, and I said let's put this concert on," Hansen said. "We can work as a team and grow in fellowship and community, and at the same time promote volunteerism and help the homeless."
McLeod said Beardstock gives his organization some much needed help during the early months of the year when charitable giving is in a traditional post-holiday lull. McLeod noted it was Hansen who came to him and said he wanted to help the homeless coalition and make a difference in the community.
"I tip my hat to this young man, Dan Hansen, who I've known for quite some time," McLeod said. "To see young people get involved in the community (is wonderful)."
A mix of familiar and new bands will take the stage at Beardstock, Returning favorites include The Cascade Sun, Echos Answer, The Valiant Nomads, Who I Am and the Gregorian Punks. Bands making their first appearance at Beardstock are Play Nice, 110 Ride who Hansen said sounds a lot like the Christian rock band Skillet and Sleep for Dreaming.
Although he considers all the fundraisers he organizes throughout the year, including the larger Rock the Leaves event, to be hobbies, Hansen said he would love to do it professionally one day, perhaps by running a nonprofit organization. With his love of helping other people and commitment to improving his community, it's certainly a dream well within his reach.
"It's really what I'm passionate about," Hansen said. "It's something I really like doing."
People like Dan Hansen give Louis McLeod hope for Minot's future, because whenever he decides to retire, McLeod knows the community will be in good hands with the next generation.
"Here is a young man who said, 'This is my home, I want to give back.' He was doing this even before the flood, and the other thing is Dan is a flood survivor himself," McLeod said. "When you look at that, hey, this bodes well for our community, that we have young people who are thinking this way so that when people like myself who are getting older start to retire, there will be someone there to fill the void."