Kurt and Brenda Warner surprise an emotional Angelica Valentin with new furniture, electronics and a stocked pantry.

Football Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda have a history of helping families in need.

The couple upheld this tradition of spreading cheer by giving an Avondale family everything they need to create a warm and welcoming home.

The Kurt Warner First Things First Foundation’s Homes for the Holidays program and its corporate partners – Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, Aaron’s, U-Haul and Brooklyn Bedding – fully furnish selected first-time homeowners’ new houses. Together, these organizations created special memories for Angelica Valentin and her three children, Elizabeth, Alexis and Emily.

The family purchased the home through Habitat for Humanity, but they were unaware it would come stocked with furniture, kitchenware and dishes, courtesy of First Things First and its partners.

After meeting the family and leading the crowd in a prayer at the recent ribbon cutting, Kurt and Brenda took the emotional Angelica and her children into their new home.

A Christmas tree sat next to the kitchen entryway. Resting on a nearby table were copies of The Boss Baby and Daddy’s Home. On a new television played Jon Favreau’s holiday classic Elf, of which the family was also given a copy. In another room was a computer, and in the kitchen, the tables were set and the cabinets fully stocked, with cookies on the counter. The house even had a washer and dryer.

“I felt surprised and happy,” said Angelica’s 12-year-old son, Alexis.

The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, 14, similarly felt “happy and excited,” she said.

As for Alexis’ favorite part of the new home?

“How it was decorated,” he said excitedly.

The superhero fan’s Avengers-themed bedding had pictures of Iron Man and Thor. The daughters’ comforters were colorful, too. This was made possible by Habitat for Humanity’s attention to detail, as its staff made sure it knew of the family’s interests.

“Each family has a case manager,” said Maribel Saucedo, director of family services for Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.

“The case manager’s responsibility is to discretely interview the family to gauge their interests—colors, themes. We then give that information to First Things First. They work with their partners … then the little elves come in and do it all, and then today happens.”

This is a big step for the family, as Angelica and her three children previously lived with her brother. The four of them had been sharing one bedroom large enough only for one bed and a dresser.

But before the Warners could help stock the home, the family had to work toward it. Habitat for Humanity aims to help low-income families, and generally single mothers or fathers, who are in search of new homes with affordable mortgages. Although Habitat does help construct new homes, the Valentins’ new residence is a renovation of an existing house.

“We have three basic requirements: the willingness to partner, the need for the program and the ability to pay,” Saucedo explained. “So, as long as they meet the three program requirements, then the family selection committee will deem them a candidate for our program.”

The “willingness to partner” component includes what the organization deems “sweat equity.” The would-be homeowners exert hundreds of hours in the process leading up to Habitat homeownership. The entire program can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, according to Saucedo.

Then, “the committee makes the final ruling or decision and gets the family approved,” Saucedo continued. “And then that’s where their journey really starts for homeownership.”

One of the partners, Aaron’s, is responsible for the furniture provided in the new home, amounting an approximate $10,000 contribution.

“Pretty much all the furniture you see in here was donated by Aaron’s,” said Neal Weldon, regional director of operations for Aaron’s. “We brought a team in and had everything assembled, spent a good part of a day with eight different team members and put the labor in and did that, but our contribution is mostly just in the furniture itself.”

Beyond this, however, Aaron’s is heavily involved with other foundations similar to Warner’s First Things First.

“We typically do three to four homes a year,” Weldon added. “In addition, we work with other foundations. For example, I’ve worked with Warrick Dunn, and he does a similar thing in Florida, as well as in Georgia. We team up with several different partners across the country every year to do this.”

Aside from Aaron’s, Brooklyn Bedding contributed the family’s new mattresses, and U-Haul helped to deliver the goods and set up the home. The final contribution to seal the deal was a $4,000 grant for Habitat, via First Things First.

A Peoria family was also rewarded by these organizations the same morning.

“I have walked in these women’s shoes and remember working so hard and just wanting someone to give me a little boost,” Brenda said.

Kurt added, “Today we are thankful for the power of teamwork and dreams realized. This could not have been possible without the incredible generosity of Aaron’s, U-Haul and Brooklyn Bedding.”

The Valentin family is the 46th to receive the generosity of First Things First since the founding of the Homes for the Holidays program, the 21st of which is in Arizona.