MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Washington Manor Apartments off of East Belz Road in South Memphis used to be an eyesore.
“We had all abandoned apartments with boards and stuff on them,” described 12-year tenant Linda Moss. “It was dangerous over here.”
That was until Jera Moran stepped in as property manger in March of 2020. Moran had been in the business for 30 years, but working at Washington Manor gave her a good reminder of her purpose.
“Washington Manor reminded me why I got in this business, to help people,” she said.
That’s an understatement as Jera goes above and beyond for dozens of tenants.
“When the pandemic first started in March, I noticed that a lot of our residents were going to the food bank and they were getting the boxes and that kind of thing. And so, how my pantry actually started was.. the stuff they didn’t want, they were throwing away,” she said.
Instead of pointing them to a food bank, she decided to bring it to them.
Jera started her own food pantry in the apartment office. She even has a sign above food shelves that reads, ‘Community Food Pantry: If you need something, please take it. If you have something at home and you don’t use it, please donate it. We are family at Washington Manor.’
“Deborah Gunn with the Rock Development– this was stuff they gave us in December. The paper goods and stuff like that, the residents here can come down and get it,” she said.
Jera can relate to her tenants as a single mom. Many people living at Washington Manor are also single moms or large families with a low income.
For Christmas, Jera continued to give. She stuffed over 75 stockings with toys, books and sweet treats for the kids living in the apartments. It was a big gesture that meant a lot to the families.
“It doesn’t matter where you live or what area you’re in, it’s all about being pride of where you’re at,” she said.
By January, she had tightened security on the grounds, led new building projects and nearly tripled the number of tenants. She also takes care of business for her residents as well by helping them find extra assistance.
“I thank God for her,” said Moss. “A lot of people done moved out and now a lot of people are coming back to this community because they got someone that cares about us and cares about our safety.”
At the end of the day, Jera says making sure her tenants feel loved and safe is all that matters.