Warrick Dunn, Former NFL Player, Donates Fully Furnished Home to Single Mom through His Charity
A single mom in Florida is now the owner of a fully furnished home thanks to the charity initiative of former NFL running back Warrick Dunn. Dunn’s charity, meanwhile, is in honor of his late mother’s memory.
It’s been about a decade since Dunn, 44, retired from professional football, but he still keeps busy putting smiles on people’s faces.
LaToya Reedy, a certified nursing assistant, is the latest recipient of "Home for the Holidays," an initiative of the Warrick Dunn Charities, which helps single parents become homeowners.
"WDC is happy to welcome recipient #173, Miss LaToya of St. Petersburg, FL, and her son AnTrez, to the Homes for the Holidays family!" Dunn announced alongside an Instagram photo with LaToya and her son.
[Betty Smothers] died at 36 after being shot days before Dunn’s 18th birthday.
On Tuesday, LaToya and her 18-year-old son were taken to their new home: a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, fully furnished apartment in St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
"Being a homeowner now, I can be at home. I can be at peace. I can bring sweet memories to my house and I can have my family and my friends over. I have a home now, and that’s something that I’ve always wanted for my son, and for myself."
Before now, the Times reported, LaToya and AnTrez had to share one room with her mother, Linda Reedy. In the overcrowded apartment, they rotated sleeping on the bed and shared one bathroom with five people for two years.
"It’s been a long, hard journey," LaToya confessed. "Struggle and sacrifices, but we made it."
Dunn was able to put a smile on LaToya’s face, thanks to his charity’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
Other sponsors include Aaron’s, a furniture company that donated $10,000 toward furniture, appliances, and interior design and healthcare provider Cigna that put forth the same amount towards down payment assistance and groceries.
With her new home, LaToya becomes the 173rd recipient of the Warrick Dunn Charities' "Home for the Holidays" program that pays tribute to the memory of Dunn’s late mother.
Betty Smothers was a mother-of-six who worked two jobs in the struggle to provide for her kids. She died at 36 after being shot days before Dunn’s 18th birthday.
Helping other single parents become homeowners has now become a form of therapy for the retired Tampa Bay Buccaneer, who had to look out for his siblings growing up.
"You have no choice but to mature. It wasn’t just about going to school and playing football anymore," he previously told PEOPLE. "My life became about five people."
"She was compassionate, she was kind, she was helpful, thoughtful," Dunn also said of his late mom. "She was everything that I would want in my wife. I consider my mother to be superwoman."
Now, Dunn keeps his mother’s memory alive by leaving the gift of an apple pie – her favorite dessert – in every home he gifts another single parent."I’ve used this program as therapy," Dunn told the Times. "Every time I hand over those keys, there’s a little piece of my mom and the things she wanted."
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