(Dade City, FL) – The Warrick Dunn Family Foundation (WD-FF), a public charity serving single-parent families in Atlanta, Ga., Baton Rouge, La., Tallahassee and Tampa, Fla., rewarded three single mothers and their eight children for achieving financial independence by becoming first-time homebuyers through its Homes for the Holidays (HFTH) program on Tuesday morning.
In honor of the recent Labor Day holiday, the three homes were completely furnished with linens, bedding, fully stocked kitchens and home decor, made possible by a $75,000 donation from Dunn's former teammate, Ryan Jumonville and his company, United Networks of America. Included in Jumonville's donation, a $5,000 down payment was provided to each homebuyer through a grant made to Habitat for Humanity of East and Central Pasco, the homebuilder and lender for all three homes. In addition, Toshiba Business Solutions sponsored the family's home offices.
Linda Hambrick and her three children were thrilled to find Warrick Dunn in the front yard of their new home. The Hambrick family soon realized that their home, rehabbed by Habitat for Humanity of East and Central Pasco, was completely furnished with furniture from Aaron's Inc. (NSE: AAN), the program's corporate partner. In addition, Jumonville's donation assisted with $10,000 in complete home furnishings and $5,000 down payment assistance, drastically lowering Hambrick's monthly mortgage payments.
In tears, Hambrick, said, "My kids don't have to say that we have to pack again and they will have their own rooms."
Immediately following the Hambrick family's home presentation, Dunn and supporters traveled around the corner to reward Ramona Atkins and her two children who also became HFTH recipients Tuesday morning. Atkins and her children have been living in a small, two-bedroom apartment in need of repairs, where the two children shared a bedroom with twin beds and barely enough space to walk. Hambrick was speechless when she saw Dunn standing at the end of her driveway.
Once inside the home, her son, Christopher, could not contain himself when he opened the door to his new amphibian themed room, exclaiming, "I don't just like it, I love it!"
Warrick Dunn, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer, started the HFTH program in 1997 to honor his late mother's dream of homeownership. Betty Smothers, a Baton Rouge police officer, was killed while working an after-hours security shift when Dunn was an 18-year-old high school senior.
"Changing lives has been a passion of mine since I lost my mom. These three mothers have worked hard to provide a secure home for their families and they deserve to be rewarded and set up for success as a homeowner," said Dunn about the HFTH program.
As the Atkins family's home presentation came to an end, Dunn walked next door to reward a single mother of two. Soporro Burns and her two children have been homeless while their Habitat home was being built. Burns, who is self-employed, has proven herself determined to give her children a safe and stable home environment, completing over 400 sweat equity hours as a family.
"We are confident that these families will continue to succeed and we are happy to support them in their endeavors," said Neal Weldon, Regional Manager for Aaron's Inc.
To date, WD-FF and its sponsors have rewarded 107 single parents and 286 children in Atlanta, Ga., Baton Rouge, La., and Tallahassee and Tampa, Fla. for achieving the American Dream of purchasing their first home.