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We Care fundraiser features food, fun and football

Leave your tie and high heels at home today for this We Care fundraiser, but it is BYOG – bring your own grillables.

Today is We Care on The Farm, “A Tailgate Extravaganza!” where families are invited to the Tesdal Farm to tailgate, grill, play bean bags, carve pumpkin and most importantly, watch the University of Illinois Fighting Illini play the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

The farm, 7505 N. Seneca Road, Morris, will open at 8 a.m. It is $20 to get in for anyone age 21 or older, and free for anyone younger. People can bring their own food and beverages or can purchase family-friendly food catered by Chapin’s and beverages.

Grills will be available for use or attendees can bring their own.

From about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. there will be activities, including pumpkin carving, a bean bag tournament, a football kicking contest, facepainting, live and silent auction, a wine and beer tasting, and more.

The game starts at 11 a.m. and will be on a big screen, as well as smaller televisions in a barn, which will be converted into a bar. The event is rain or shine. The screen, television and many of the activities will be covered by the farm buildings.

The idea came from Tom Tesdal, who says he got it from his friend Denny Hackett.

“I was talking to Tom and said I didn’t want to do anymore sit-down dinners that cost a lot to get in the door and the money goes toward the dinner rather than the organization,” Denise Gaska, the executive director of We Care of Grundy County, said Friday while helping to set up for the event.

“And [Tesdal] said he had this idea to have a tailgate party to watch football on a big screen on his farm,” she said.

Tesdal said the idea has been on his mind for a long time to provide a fundraiser that is open to everyone.

“It’s one for the whole family. It’s not one you have to dress up for,” said Tesdal, a huge Illini fan.

Tesdal teased Nebraska fans are welcome, too, although they risk getting thrown into the horse trough, he joked.

“Come out and have a good time for a good cause. You don’t have to go to Champaign to see the game. Save the gas money and donate to We Care,” he said.

We Care is a local nonprofit agency that provides emergency assistance to Grundy County residents in the form of food, rent, utility and prescription assistance.

The proceeds from this event will go toward food costs, which have continued to rise, Gaska said, as well as to its rental assistance program.

Grundy County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state, so the need for We Care’s assistance continues to increase. When the idea of a tailgate party was introduced to the We Care board, they jumped on the opportunity.

Board member Tracy Zabel was on site Friday to help prepare for the party and said she hopes for a good turnout of community members who want to help those in need.

“With We Care we are all about taking care of the people in our own backyard,” she said.

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