It’s the holiday season – a time when community members and local businesses come together to give back to causes that are close to their hearts. With this in mind, the staff at Penguin Air, Plumbing & Electrical, a locally owned and operated HVAC company, are busy creating Christmas magic for those who need it most.
“As a company, it’s important to us to support the community we work and reside in,” says Tonya Roehl, a customer relations manager at Penguin Air. “We never forget that no matter what, it’s people that matter the most.”
Since 2017, Penguin Air has worked with the Arizona Department of Child Safety’s (DCS) Giving Tree program, which provides personalized gifts to children in the state’s foster care system. In the first year, the company provided gifts for 20 children – and the number has steadily risen and is up to more than 40 children this holiday season.
“Children are the most vulnerable community members, and these kids are in foster care due to no fault of their own,” Roehl says. “Oftentimes they don’t have many things that are just theirs – so in addition to providing for basic needs, we always provide a gift that is personalized just for them. This helps to build their self-esteem and helps them to feel seen.”
Laren Neely, lead dispatcher at Penguin Air, coordinates the company’s Giving Tree program. She says that the company is provided with a foster child’s first name, age and wish list, and that information is then dispersed to Penguin Air’s employees.
“I love helping to lead this program – as a mom, helping foster children is especially close to my heart,” Neely shares. “Our employees have some of the biggest hearts – some purchase gifts for multiple children. I think this initiative helps us to remember that, while we all have jobs to do, it’s not about money at the end of the day – it’s about helping others.”
Jay Kline, general manager at Penguin Air, echoes this sentiment. “The Penguin core values focus on CARE: creativity, accountability, relationships, and enjoyment. The annual Giving Tree for CPS reflects all those values,” he says.
“The Giving Tree program creates memories with shopping for and wrapping gifts, which sometimes requires creativity. It holds our techs and office staff accountable to their commitment to each kid, and it is our relationship with the community that makes it happen every year,” Kline continues. “We are blessed with abundance in our industry—everyone in Ahwatukee, and the Valley, needs home services. We are grateful that they choose Penguin and want to give back and reinvest in our community.”
Neely says that, as an HVAC company, summers are Penguin Air’s busiest time of year, so the holiday season’s Giving Tree program is the perfect opportunity for staff to slow down and give back. Still, no matter how busy Penguin Air is, community service is always at the heart of everything they do, she affirms. Penguin Cares is the nickname for an ongoing program where the company partners with local charities and relief efforts. Since 2012, this program has expanded to partner with the Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the Arizona Humane Society, Arizona Surprise Squad, and more. They specialize in a variety of causes, including bringing awareness to vehicular heatstroke with Phoenix Children’s and have supported the Pat Tillman Foundation.
“We have a special place in our hearts for serving veterans, senior citizens, and youth in our community,” Roehl explains. “The holiday season’s Giving Tree program focuses on foster youth because children are our future, and everyone deserves some holiday magic. Giving gifts to those in need is not only magical for the kids, but for us too.”