When Luz decided to apply for Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona’s Homeownership Program, she had no idea just how much of an impact it would have on her son, Jason.
The family met Habitat’s criteria and completed more than 400 hours of “sweat equity” by working alongside volunteers and sponsors to build their new residence.
And thanks to the generous support of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner’s First Things First Foundation and corporate partners like U-Haul®, the residence was furnished with all the necessities, comforts and personal touches that turn a house into a home.
Warner and his wife, Brenda, have used their charity to provide life-altering services to single-mom families that need a helping hand for more than 20 years. The foundation’s Homes for the Holidays program enables families to move into a fully furnished home just in time for a special celebration – be it Christmas, Mother’s Day, or another special occasion.
U-Haul proudly supports Homes for the Holidays by purchasing many of the household items and offering volunteers to help prepare each home for move-in day. The Warners’ latest project to assist Luz and Jason took place in December in Surprise, Ariz., not far from U-Haul corporate headquarters in Midtown Phoenix.
Shopping for a cause
U-Haul rate monitor Heather Lamb and Community Relations specialist Miranda Luna purchased items for the latest home reveal. Armed with a list of Luz’s and Jason’s favorite things, the duo hand-selected the items that would best fit their personalities.
“We spent a lot of time trying to find the right patterns and dish sets, but it was worth it,” Lamb said. “This was my first time shopping for Homes for the Holidays, and we did not want to disappoint. Overall, I think we picked out items and décor that worked well.”
Luna and Senior Media and Public Relations specialist Andi Batchelor helped with the home setup and decorating.
“It’s heartwarming to see the surprise on new homeowners’ faces when they walk into a home with furnishings they love,” Batchelor said. “The beds are made. The towels are folded. The table is set. Everything is ready for them to settle in and enjoy.”
From a house to a home
Finally, the day arrived for mother and son to see their completed home. They met the Warners, along with volunteers and representatives from U-Haul, Habitat for Humanity and other giving organizations, in the driveway for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting and a blessing on the home. Then the group went inside for a tour.
The home included a fully stocked pantry, Christmas decorations, movies and a signed football from Warner, who led the Arizona Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII (Feb. 1, 2009), the franchise’s lone appearance in the Big Game. For the U-Haul volunteers, knowing the family loved its home made their volunteering worth the effort.
“Nothing feels better than knowing that we helped bring joy to a deserving family,” Lamb said.
“The best part of Homes for the Holidays is that it transforms an empty house into a welcoming home,” Batchelor noted. “Without U-Haul and other corporate sponsors, these houses wouldn’t have the furnishings and décor that the homeowners need to kickstart their new lives.”
To learn about previous Homes for the Holidays reveals, click here.