"We're sitting here in Illinois, with some of the richest ground in the world. There's no need for someone here to be looking for something to eat."
Perry "Pete" Sage, Farmer
A farmer, a minister, and a nonprofit executive...
It sounds like the start of a bad joke. In reality, this meeting in early 2014 was the beginning of the Farmers Feeding Families program. Three unique groups gathered together around a common cause: preventing hunger in Champaign County. The Church of the Living God generously allowed United Way to rent the land adjacent to their church. United Way worked with Thomasboro farmer Perry "Pete" Sage, who farmed the land and helped get all the inputs donated. All proceeds, minus rent, went to five local programs working to feed the hungry in our county. In the first year, the program raised over $22,000 and increased funding to local food programs by over 20%!
In 2015, United Way planted 60 acres with corn and beans! We're grateful to the Champaign Unit 4 Schools, who allowed us to rent 40 acres, and The Atkins Group, where we're renting 20 acres. We can't wait for harvest day.
We are currently looking for farmers and landowners who would like to partner with us in 2016. Contact Sue Grey for more information.
Preventing hunger, one harvest at a time
United Way works with a network of local programs who are dedicated to improving the health of our community. Five of these programs work to prevent hunger by providing food to our neighbors: as hot home-delivered meals for our seniors, in a specialized food pantry for those with illness, and in over 25 food pantries. This network of programs works to meet the unique food needs of everyone in our county. This program falls under our Health building block.
We'd like to extend a sincere thanks to those who donated inputs to the Farmers Feeding Families effort in 2015:
AgriGold, BASF, Cargill, Farm Credit Services of Illinois, Illini FS, Illinois FBFM Association, Sage Farms, Sloan Implement, and The Andersons.
And a special thanks to the people who make it possible:
Pete and Marsha Sage, Scott Williamson, Jeremy Hogan, Gavin Pearson, Rick Swearingen, Mitch Fruhling, Chad Barnes, Amy Murray Sage, and Craig Wyenn.