Vestine and her three youngest daughters received the surprise of their lives on a sunny Wednesday morning as they entered their new Habitat for Humanity house on the south side of Phoenix.
The ongoing philanthropic work of NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner’s First Things First Foundation and its Homes for the Holidays project made it possible for an empty home to be fully furnished, leaving Vestine speechless while her daughters screamed, jumped and threw pillows in excitement.
Despite an arduous eight-year journey since moving from Rwanda, South Africa, there is no doubt Christmas 2020 will be one to remember at this residence.
This family’s dream of home ownership came to fruition with the assistance of Habitat for Humanity. Thanks to First Things First partners like U-Haul, the house was filled with beautiful and essential items to make their transition seamless and comfortable.
U-Haul Team Members shopped for the family’s furnishings on Dec. 4 and decorated the house on Dec. 6 prior to the emotional Dec. 8 home reveal.
U-Haul and Homes for the Holidays
Team U-Haul has proudly partnered Kurt and Brenda Warners for 14 years overall, and 12 in Phoenix, to provide resilient, single-parent working families with a fresh start.
The First Things First Foundation also does Homes for the Holidays projects in St. Louis and has assisted families in Iowa and New York, communities to which the Warners have football ties. Kurt, a member of The NFL Network’s programming and a devout Christian, played for the Arizona Cardinals for five seasons from 2005-09.
“The ability to create an environment where your kids can call home, and your kids can have friends over, and you guys can create memories – that’s what this is all about,” Kurt said to Vestine and her children in presenting the house.
“We are excited to be part of this day in the midst of all the craziness with the pandemic. To see your beautiful faces and be a part of this blessing, we’re excited. We’ve got to say thanks because it’s not just us coming in. Habitat does an incredible job. We’ve got some local sponsors. … U-Haul has been doing this with us for 12 years. So everybody at U-Haul, we say thank you.”
Vestine’s new home included four bedrooms with bedding (bunk beds in two rooms), dressers and personal touches; a stocked kitchen; a den/dining room combo with couches, a TV, movies and place settings; an office nook with a computer; a washer and dryer; a garage; a backyard; and perhaps most notably, the family’s very first Christmas tree.
As part of its community outreach, U-Haul partners with organizations like Kurt Warner’s First Things First Foundation to help people meet their basic human needs: food, clothing and shelter. This has long been a focus of U-Haul since it considers affordable residential mobility a basic need, and strives to meet that need for families at more than 22,000 truck- and trailer-sharing locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.