All donations that we make as a company are special to us, but a recent one touched our heartstrings in many different ways. Bozzuto Management and Radnor Properties had approached us with the idea for a new program called “Bring a Veteran Home.” Without knowing much more than that, we were already on board! After learning more, we were doubly glad we had said yes. Bozzuto and Radnor Properties wanted to give a luxury apartment rent free for a year to a deserving veteran and they asked AFR to provide the furnishing for it.
Bozzuto had already reached out to several veteran agencies to find a good candidate and Community Hope, the largest nonprofit serving homeless veterans and families in and around Philadelphia, had responded with Clara Allan who told us more about her. Clara served our country for 24 years, moving from Georgia to Maryland and landing in Philadelphia to escape an abusive marriage and take a job with the Department of Defense in Northeast Philadelphia. Yet, even with a job, she found making ends tough and after some frightening nights on the street, turned to Community Hope for help. As you now know, they did more than find her a bed for a night! And this is where AFR’s story with her begins.
After learning Clara’s story, a lunch was set up with Doreen Trongone, VP of Bozzuto, Audra Shinnebarger, manager of the apartment complex, 3737 Chestnut Street, and Wendy Schreiber with AFR Furniture Rental. Clara didn’t know exactly what the lunch was about, but within five minutes of meeting her, everyone knew she was the “one.” When Clara found out she was to be the recipient of a year of free housing in a beautiful apartment, tears rolled down her face and she said, “This is my brand new start, this is my new life!”
That new life began on January 26 when Clara was welcomed into her new home. Action News was there as well as a rep from the VA, Community Hope, The 3737 Chestnut Team, Got Laundry?, and AFR. She was overwhelmed with emotion and ready to begin her play to pay it all forward. We have no doubts she will. Already Clara, who recently received her Bachelor’s Degree, is planning to go back to school to get her Masters. We think her new digs, complete with a study area in the den, are the perfect place for her to write the next chapter of her life.