Local company gives families the gift of heat for the holidays

Heat for the Holidays
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Heat is something that is essential in the winter months in Philadelphia, yet there are families across the region that don’t have access to it. To help give back to the community, one local company is acting as an angel of warmth for families come this holiday season—and this isn’t the first or last time they’ll be offering this gift. 

Oliver Heating & Cooling from Morton, Pennsylvania, for the past 22 years has offered their Heat for the Holidays program where they reach out to local community leaders, residents, and social media to identify families who are in need of a new heating system but cannot afford the cost of replacement. 

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“We wanted to find a way to give something back to the community in the way of heating systems. Most businesses get hit with a lot of ways to donate, but we just thought we’d go the extra mile for people in our area who might have fallen on hard times,” said Bernie Sweeney, Senior Vice President at Oliver Heating & Cooling in a previous statement. “Over the years the program has grown.”

Grown it has. Every year since the Heat for Holidays program debuted in 1998, Oliver has received anywhere from 15 to 30 submissions of people nominating friends, family members or themselves for the service. A committee at the HVAC company then sifts through the letters and picks out 4 or 5 families that need it most.

On the second Saturday of the new year, the heating systems will be installed in the different residencies. Equipment manufacturers, supply houses, and a local financial institution donate equipment, materials and supplies, and the labor for installation is donated by Oliver Heating & Cooling employees.

Submissions for this year have recently just opened, and offers an opportunity for those who see a friend, family member or even themselves in need to be nominated. As the release states, to be considered, nominations must be submitted by Nov. 12 and include a letter nominating a family describing why they need a new heating system. This can include medical circumstances, financial hardships, community involvement from the family, or other situations that might aid in the evaluation process.  

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Secondly, to win, nominees must live in one of Oliver’s service areas: Middle & Lower Townships, N.J., Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and New Castle County in the Delaware Valley. Candidates must also own their home. If submitting, make sure to include the nominee’s name, address, and phone number.

“Our company is built on integrity, trust and lending a helping hand. We understand the value of growth through service, not just through our professional service offerings, but through our commitment to serving our community,” said David Oliver, second-generation owner of Oliver in a statement. “We believe strongly in giving back to the community that has helped us succeed.”

In the previous years of operating the program, 65 heating systems have been donated to families in need throughout the Delaware Valley. Heat for the Holidays is one of the most anticipated days on the Oliver calendar and a tradition that the company hopes to continue for years to come. Oliver Heating & Cooling has donated and installed over 94 heating systems valued at approximately $740,000, more than 5,600 hours of volunteer labor, and enlisted the help of over 940 Oliver associates who have volunteered their time and resources to help make this initiative possible for families in the community.

“It’s a great feeling to tell people they’re getting a new heating system, they’re very pleased to get that news because the ones that need it really do. They just feel uplifted and a lot of them will share with me that God has touched them in some way and brought us all together to be able to do this with them. It’s kind of a more emotional time, you’re really hitting the target when you’re doing it for people who are really in a tough spot,” finished Sweeney. “It’s enriched my life in many ways. I take a lot of joy out of the fact that our team—I’m so amazed at how many volunteers we get of people who will give up a Saturday, come in and help. We get 40 to 50 people who will come in and say, hey we’re here if you need me, it’s an enjoyable day. We’re just thrilled and honored to be able to be in a position to help others.”

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Submissions for Oliver Heating & Cooling can be made through oliverheatcool.com.


Metro is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly

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