SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - Farmers can turn their corn, soybeans and wheat into cash donations to support patients at HSHS St. John's Hospital.

Major Gift Officer Brandy Grove said when a farmer donates a commodity, a cash contribution is determined based on the daily price of the commodity the day the check is issued.

"X number of bushels will be donated to the organization through the grain elevator," Grove said. "As my role, I get to call the grain elevator and say, 'I'm ready to accept that gift.' There's no maximum or minimum amount that a donor could choose to make."

Grove said this idea came from a central Illinois farming family.

"St. John's Hospital covers over 39 counties. So, we know of that 39 counties, there are many farming communities being served by our hospital," she said. "We had a very generous farming family that really reached out to us, to make that first gift, and that's what got us thinking about it."

As a non-profit hospital, St. John's relies on these types of contributions to achieve their mission.

"Your gift can go to supporting a scholarship at the school of nursing or to other pieces of equipment throughout the hospital," Grove said. "We really can use that contribution in any area that you designate."

Child Life Specialist Kaitlyn Macpherson said last fall, the harvest in central Illinois helped to provide more than 50 birthday, holiday and end of chemotherapy treatment celebrations to kids in the hospital, when a special gift of 1,000 bushels was donated.

"We are completely funded by donations, so everything we receive goes directly to us and these kids," Macpherson said. "Some of those items are toys you see in the play room, or we do 'I SPY' books for distraction during IV starts."

This year's gift of grain turned out to be more than $3,000, which was 1,000 bushels of grain.

Anyone interested in learning more about the program can visit St. John's website here.