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GI Habitat for Humanity receives $200,000 check from JBS USA

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 8:53 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - JBS USA presented a $200,000 check to the Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity on Wednesday.

“This is the largest single donation we have ever received and we are so grateful,” GI Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Dana Jelinek said. “Coming off of such a difficult, difficult year during COVID, it is one of the brightest, brightest stars in our universe this year.”

43% of households the GI Habitat for Humanity has worked with has been JBS employees.

“I don’t know how to express it any better than it is life changing for the families that we work with,” Jelinek said. “Our home buyers come back to us years after they purchase their home and they’re still grateful for the opportunity to be a homeowner.”

The funds will be put into an account and will be used when a JBS employee qualifies for the program. They must go through an interview process like everyone else to be selected for a home. Also a unique thing about this project is the mortgage payments from the recipients of these homes will go back into the account.

“They don’t pay us back in a lump sum,” Jelinek said. “They pay us back incrementally over 20 to 30 years, so every month we get a little something. So to have the money up front to construct the home is really how habitat operates.”

The price of lumber and building materials has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

I just came from a home-builders last night where the lumber yards says there’s no access to lumber,” Jelinek said. “So if somebody’s doing a renovation right now, a lot of people are planning or spending more than they anticipated to get their projects done.”

The donation will not only help them afford these materials but will help them continue to give low-income families a place to call home.

“The experience with the employees is profound,” said JBS USA Grand Island General Manager Zack Ireland. “It’s long-lasting, it carries on for generations, kids of parents who receive habitat homes are now talking about the program and helping with the program.”

JBS USA has dedicated $3.5 million dollars to the Grand Island community as part of their Hometown Strong Initiative. They’ve already donated to Grand Island Public Schools, GI Parks and Recreation Department, GI Literacy Council, Central District Health Department, and now Habitat for Humanity.

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