TEP employee feeding a cat

From adoption events to rescue organizations and fostering pets, volunteering to support animal welfare is an area of particular passion and dedication for Tucson Electric Power employees.

TEP volunteers support several animal-related events each year and dedicate themselves to caring for needy animals year-round.

For TEP Plant Accountant Bianca Maubach, volunteering with a rescue group six years ago led to her creating her own rescue organization focusing on orphaned and senior cats that don’t typically get adopted. She also serves on the steering committee for the Pima Alliance for Animal Welfare, or PAAW, and on the marketing team for the Adopt Love, Adopt Local event.

Founded in May 2015, Maubach’s S.O.S. Cat Rescue AZ seeks to save cats from euthanasia, giving them a second chance at a happy life.

“The cats are so grateful they’re not in a shelter anymore, especially the senior and hospice cats,” Maubach said. “The latter appreciate the warm beds in foster homes and love they receive until it’s their time to pass away.”

Maubach has rescued about 50 cats since starting her organization. She works to find homes for kittens as well as senior cats, while placing cats needing hospice care in foster homes. Her coworkers at TEP support her efforts.

Sandy Holland, Senior Analyst, Customer Measures & Benchmarks, volunteers with the rescue group Saving At Risk Animals, or SARA, and also at the Pima Animal Care Center, logging about 30 to 40 hours a week. She also serves on the Pima Alliance for Animal Welfare steering committee.

She started volunteering with Pima Animal Care about five years ago. “I went to adopt a cat and there was no one there to help me. A lot of volunteers would rather work with dogs, so it’s more difficult for cats to get adopted. I started out there working in adoptions, and now I do a lot of fostering of cats with medical needs.”

In the past two years, Holland has fostered more than 70 kittens and cats. She uses social networking to help get pets adopted, putting photos of cats and dogs on Facebook. Having support from TEP and her fellow employees makes a difference, Holland said.

“I would love for there not to be a need for what I do,” she said. “It would be my dream to close down my Facebook account and to not have to take in animals the way I do. But every time I think of getting out of it, there’s another one that needs help.”

TEP adds philanthropic support to its employees’ enthusiasm for animal charities. For example, the company sponsored Adopt Love, Adopt Local, an adoption fair designed to find homeless animals forever homes.

“This is a popular activity for our volunteers because pets are a part of our everyday lives,” says Wendy Erica Werden, TEP’s Manager of Community Investment and Philanthropy. “Oftentimes, employees can volunteer along with their families. Hopefully we’re teaching our children to be responsible pet owners. Having a pet is a life-long commitment.”

The Pima Animal Care Center’s Whiskers and Wishes holiday pet adoption event received financial backing from TEP as well as support from nearly 50 employee volunteers.

“I’m a sucker for animals,” said Sam Molina Jr., Renewable Energy Program Coordinator, who coordinated TEP’s volunteer effort at the event. “I’ve always been a big advocate for adoptions and animal welfare.”

At Whiskers and Wishes, TEP volunteers helped connect attendees with animals they were interested in adopting. Others dressed as Santa Claus and posed for pictures with families and their newly adopted pets. The event helped 183 pets find new homes in a single weekend, exceeding the goal of 150 total adoptions.

“It was incredibly successful, and we’ve talked about ways to make it bigger. I’d love to do it again,” he said.

Molina started volunteering with TEP in 2011 when he first joined the company as an Intern and has continued ever since.

“TEP really got me into volunteering,” he said. “Our company is so involved with the community. Without TEP, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make such a difference.”