Farmers Feeding Families

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Combine harvesting corn

United Way fights for everyone in our community to have nutritious food.

Video filmed in 2017

Meeting basic human needs

Through the Farmers Feeding Families program, United Way of Champaign County focuses on reducing hunger and its associated health issues in our community. Since 2014, $173,666.48 has been raised through the Farmers Feeding Families program – providing local families with an estimated 500,000 meals.

Over 22,000 people in Champaign County are food insecure – and the number is anticipated to rise sharply this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families that struggle to afford food are ALICE families - they earn more than the federal poverty level but still have a hard time making ends meet. Learn more about thes ALICE families.

A powerful partnership

Every spring, Sage Farms helps United Way plant two fields of corn and beans: 80 acres of land rented from Champaign Unit 4 Schools, and five acres provided freely by Gill Athletics.

Nearly all of the input and labor is donated by farmers and agribusinesses. Over 15 farmers volunteered to harvest the fields last year, completing the work in just over two hours! The profits from the sale of the corn and beans are used to boost United Way’s grants to local hunger and nutrition programs. 

Harvesting hope

As a result of this year’s harvest, United Way of Champaign County has been able to increase our 2020 grants to local food programs by 32 percent! These grants fill the shelves of food pantries with fresh produce, provide home-delivered meals for senior citizens, and provide nutritional supplements for people with health conditions.

Food plays a large role in maintaining a healthy life. United Way believes everyone, in every corner of our community, should have access to healthy food for themselves and their families. 

We are always looking for farmers and landowners who would like to partner with us. Contact Sue Grey for more information.

"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, Thomasboro Farmer


Our Partners


Photo by Scott Paceley

Without land, this program would not exist. We thank Champaign Unit 4 Schools for allowing us to rent 80 acres. We also thank Gill Athletics for allowing us to farm 5 acres next to their offices with no charge.

We'd like to extend a sincere thanks to those who donated inputs, labor, or funds to the Farmers Feeding Families effort in 2020:

Sage Farms

Pete and Marcia Sage

Gary Sage

Spencer Sage

Evan Huls

Jerry Evans  

Chad Barnes

Matt Birkey

Tab Carmein

Joe Cannon

Dan Duitsman

Paul Duitsman

Chris Doenitz

Kris Ehler

Mitch Fruhling

Jeremy Hogan

Les Hovlen

Paul Klein

Kelly Loschen

Charles Myerscough

Richard & Linda Parnell

Gavin Pearson

Amy Murray Sage

Brian Stark

Greg Suits

Rick Swearingen

Scott Williamson

Rick Wolken

Craig Wyenn





Carmien Farms

COUNTRY Financial

Doenitz Farms

Ehler Bros. Co.

Farm Credit Illinois

Gifford State Bank

Illini FS

Illinois FBFM Association

Klein Farms


Myerscough Farms

On Track Farming

Parnell Farms

Shaff Implement

Sloan Implement

The Andersons

Wolken Farms