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John Deere grants $2 million to Habitat for Humanity in an effort to improve Waterloo neighborhoods

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - The John Deere Foundation gave out its largest grant any organization in Waterloo has seen from the company. The Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity will receive $2 million to help better the Church Row neighborhood in Waterloo.

Habitat for Humanity has worked on homes in the Walnut neighborhood, and now they are moving into this new area with the help of John Deere.

"Really excited for the opportunity to expand and move to another area," Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Ali Parrish said.

About 75 John Deere production workers came together Thursday from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Tractor Cab Assembly Operations factory in Waterloo to volunteer their time to help. The employees built about 200 walls for future homes in Cedar Valley neighborhoods.

The walls will go toward the construction of six homes in neighborhoods the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity is currently working in. The grant money will go into the Church Row neighborhood to create safe and affordable housing over the course of the next four years.

"Provide new housing solutions, to take care of some of the existing housing stock that's already in the neighborhood, to build on the great work in the neighborhood that the residents are already doing in a lot of different ways. Just trying to improve the overall quality of life in the Church Row neighborhood," Parrish said.

The John Deere Foundation announced that is investing $200 million into their communities as a part of a 10-year commitment.

“One of the ways that we deliver on that commitment is by making meaningful long term investments in the families and youth that call these communities home," John Deere Foundation President Nate Clark said.

Building, renovating, and improving homes in Waterloo has been the goal of the Habitat for Humanity over the last few years.

"There are a lot of people that have homes that may not be able to fix them up or have resources. Having these partnerships makes all the difference," Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart said.

The homes that are built or rehabilitated will ultimately be owned by families seeking help from the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity.

"A lot of times they've heard no a lot and just felt down a lot, or what have you, and to be able to partner and have someone say yes is just so transformative," Parrish said.

The walls built at the John Deere factory will go into houses in Cedar Valley neighborhoods starting early this summer.

If you would like to volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity in building homes, or are looking for home assistance, you can visit the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity's website.