Aaron's, Inc. Partners With Warrick Dunn Charities To Surprise Newark Grandmother With Homes For The Holidays

ATLANTA - Nov. 14, 2013 // PRNewswire // - Aaron's, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a lease-to-own retailer specializing in the sales and lease ownership of residential furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories, provided the home furnishings for a house that was presented to Elizabeth "Yaya" Castillo and her two grandsons this week in a surprise unveiling in the Newark, New Jersey Ironbound District as part of Warrick Dunn Charities (WDC) Homes for the Holidays program.

Homes for the Holidays aids single parents in need by providing the materials necessary for long-term stability and the provisions required to ensure that both parent and children can thrive educationally, socially and economically. To date, in partnership with Aaron's, Inc. and Habitat for Humanity affiliates, WDC and its sponsors have rewarded 129 single parents and 353 children and dependents across the nation for achieving the American Dream of first-time homeownership in Atlanta, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Tallahassee and Tampa. Aaron's has been a longtime supporter of Warrick Dunn Charities initiatives and began contributing the furnishings for the Homes for the Holidays program in 2003.

Ronald W. Allen, Aaron's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Aaron's is pleased to help families like Ms. Castillo who is now caring for her two grandsons and to help provide a place of stability that they can call home. This is our 10th year of partnership with Warrick Dunn Charities and Homes for the Holidays. Through this important program, Warrick Dunn Charities is able to make a major difference in people's lives. What a memorable time to present a new home – during a season of thanksgiving."

The family was joined by Warrick Dunn, the former all-pro NFL running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons, NFL Commissioner Goodell and his family, Newark Mayor Luis Quintana, Chad Strickland, Vice President of Associate Resources, Aaron's, Inc., Joseph Della Fave, Executive Director of the Ironbound Community Corporation, Jeffrey Farrell, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, Newark and Martin Fontela, Vice President of New York Operations, Aaron's, Inc.

"Habitat Newark is very thankful to Warrick Dunn Charities, Aaron's and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for providing the furnishings for the Habitat house so the Castillos can start their new life as homeowners," said Jeffrey Farrell, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Newark. "To have one of our own chosen is a great compliment to all of the volunteers that worked hard on the Habitat house, and to the partner family's commitment to this dream."

The contributions by Aaron's were made on behalf of ACORP, the Aaron's Community Outreach Program, which supports neighborhoods and communities across the country in which Aaron's stores are located. Among the list of donated items were full living and dining room sets and bedroom furniture for each of the bedrooms.

Warrick Dunn Charities, based in Atlanta, partnered with Habitat for Humanity to choose a single-family home with proven progress and financial stability. The Castillos are the 129th family chosen by WDC for their inspiring story of overcoming adversity while Castillo single-handedly takes care of two grandchildren with autism.

"This family resonates with me because when I lost my mother, my grandmother stepped in and provided me and my siblings with a family environment. I don't know where I would be today if my grandmother didn't sacrifice her life for us, so I can relate to these boys," Dunn said. "Yaya's character speaks volumes, and I'm excited just to be a part of her life."

Castillo found herself a parent, again at the age of 59, after a long custody battle for her two grandsons, Mikael and Gabriel. The road had been long for Castillo - all lines of credit were controlled by her estranged husband. She lived in a dilapidated apartment, experienced financial struggles in obtaining the Habitat home and faced medical issues with both of her two grandchildren who have autism.

Essentially, she had to start her life anew. "Being a parent is hard, being a single-parent is harder," Castillo said. "But being a parent the second time around at my age to two beautiful boys with special needs is a gift."

The family recently closed on a rehabilitated one-floor three bedroom duplex, which was built with the help of house sponsors and more than 100 volunteers. The home, shared with another Habitat partner family in the floor above, sits in the Ironbound District.

In addition to complete home furnishings and furniture provided by Aaron's, Inc., the Homes for the Holidays program also provides its recipients with $5,000 down-payment assistance, greatly lowering their monthly mortgage payments and providing extra money for things like doctor appointments or extra-curricular activities for the children.

For the past 16 years, Warrick Dunn Charities has focused on providing programs and services to single parents who are committed to achieving stability for themselves and their children, making a difference in the lives of 129 single parents to date – along with more than 353 children and dependents. In 2012, Warrick Dunn Charities expanded its service to include a mobile children's bereavement program in Baton Rouge.

About Aaron's, Inc.

Aaron's, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), a leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of residential furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories, has more than 2,115 Company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states and Canada. Founded in 1955 by entrepreneur and Chairman Emeritus R. Charles Loudermilk, Sr. and headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron's has been publicly traded since 1982. For more information, visit www.aarons.com.

Aaron's, Inc. includes the Aarons.com, GoRimco.com, and ShopHomeSmart.com brands.

About Warrick Dunn Charities

Warrick Dunn Charities enriches families' lives academically, economically and socially. Homes for the Holidays is dedicated to providing opportunities for economically-disadvantaged single parents and children who have demonstrated a commitment to achieve financial independence and stability. Since 1997, the Homes for the Holidays program has rewarded 129 single parents and 353 children and dependents who have reached the American Dream of first-time homeownership in Atlanta, GA, Baltimore, MD, Baton Rouge, LA, Dallas, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Tallahassee and Tampa, FL Betty's Hope, A Children's Bereavement program provides students aged 5-18 with a safe and responsive environment for them to heal and enhance their quality of life after experiencing a loss. For more information, visit www.wdc.org.

SOURCE Aaron's, Inc.


Garet Hayes


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Headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron's, Inc. is a leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories.


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