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Annual Utah Chili Open helps small charities

Thursday, May 17, 2012614 views

Sugar House Rotarians served up support for seven local charities during the 21st Annual Utah Chili Open this year.

The event was held over the last weekend in January. Then in March, Sugar House Rotary members held a luncheon to present the money raised to representatives of the charities.

Sugar House Rotary Chili Open Chair Barry Bank said the event always has a great turnout of support from the community.

“It’s a really good feeling to know that we’ve helped [people],” he said.

The Utah Chili Open began this year with an auction of donated items to raise money for the charities. The auction, a dinner and a silent raffle for prizes was held at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

The next day, a second round of events was held at Wheeler Farm, 6351 South 900 East. The Chili Open Family Festival included youth activities, a golf tournament and the traditional meal of chili for guests. Participants were also treated to donuts, hot chocolate, coffee, chips and other treats.

Sugar House area business Fiddler’s Elbow (1061 East 2100 South) donated the chili for the event.

For the first time this year, a 5K Fun Run and 1K Children’s Run were held in conjunction with the event during the family festival.

Bank said approximately 700 people turned out for the festival at Wheeler Farm.

The charities that benefitted from the Utah Chili Open included the Carmen B. Pingree School for Children with Autism, Cancer Wellness House, People Helping People, Reach Out & Read Utah, SPLORE, Teen Challenge New Hope House and The Sharing Place.

All of the charities are small, local organizations that provide aid and services for people along the Wasatch Front.

For example, SPLORE is a nonprofit organization that strives to empower individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth and people with other hardships through nature-based activities. Volunteers lead trips and adventures to connect people with the Utah outdoors.

The Chili Open events contributed to raise more than $200,000 split between the seven local charities.

Bank said 100 percent of the money raised was donated to the nonprofit organizations. The checks were presented to the representatives of the charities during a luncheon held at the Sons of Utah Pioneers building.

“Sugar House Rotary doesn’t make a penny on this,” Bank said.

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