'Idol' Contestant Phillip Phillips Hometown Scrimps to Send Family to Hollywood

3/18/2012 4:30 AM PDT

"American Idol" finalist Phillip Phillips’ family can't afford to watch him perform live in Hollywood -- so his hometown in Georgia is banding together ... to raise money to send 'em there ... TMZ has learned.

According to sources, it costs about $3,000 to fly out Phillip's family from Leesburg, GA to Los Angeles -- and the Phillipses simply can't afford to make the trip ... despite their son making it to the finals.

But the good citizens of Leesburg, GA have trying their best to help out ... throwing fundraisers every Wednesday -- where at least 15 merchants donate a percentage of their profits from that day ... to help the family make the trip to tinseltown.
The events are so popular -- Mayor Jim Quinn named 'em ‘Phillip Phillips’ Wednesdays’ ... and even gave Phillips’ family a key to the town.

Sources tell TMZ -- people from all over are eager to donate ... townsfolk ... tourists off the street ... and even fans as far as Florida are mailing in checks.

Of course, anything sounds awesome when you have kidney stones.