$22,500 In Emergency Donations Temporarily Replenish Utility and Air-Conditioners Efforts To Help (MO/ILL) Area Seniors and Disabled People Survive Oppressive Heat; Cool Down St. Louis “Check On Your Neighbors” Expands to On-Line
North County — When the steamy, blistering heat returns (apparently before the official June 21 day of summer), Cool Down St. Louis will have replenished some of its critical services for Missouri and Illinois seniors and disabled residents in need of an air-conditioner or utility assistance; thanks to the generosity of several corporate supporters and individual on-line donations. The high demand for utility assistance and air-conditioners increases with at least 75 requests, per day.
Recently the regional, not-for-profit, all-volunteer energy assistance and public education charity announced that Hardee’s Food Systems, Citi, and Vatterott Educational Centers and the general public on-line ( www.cooldownstlouis.org) within a week made donations exceeding more than $22,000 in emergency grants, which will help the charity provide at least 110 brand new additional air-conditioners. The announcement took place at the North County, Vatterott Educational Center.
“We are about saving lives in our region, and extreme heat and humidity kills people, the elderly and disabled are especially at risk,” said Lance LeComb, president of the all-volunteer board of directors for Cool Down St. Louis. “We are asking our community to pull together and help those who are the most victimized by extreme heat and only by pulling together and helping each other will we be able to combat heat related fatalities this summer.”
During the recent two-week cycle of blistering heat, Cool Down St. Louis reportedly purchased and distributed about 85 air-conditioners. The charity also announced its S.O.S (Saving Our Seniors) project with area Vatterott Educational Centers. New or slightly used air-conditioners less than two-years old can be dropped-off, at any of the Vatterott locations, during regular business hours. The donor will receive a receipt for tax contribution purposes.
The charity is also announcing an “Adopt-A-Family” project, where Cool Down St. Louis is taking on-line donations at www.cooldownstlouis.org. 100% of all donations will provide utility assistance to a qualified senior or disabled person. The donor will also receive a free Cool Down membership. In addition to the on-line site, tax-deductible donations can also be mailed to: Cool Down St. Louis, c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188.
“While we deeply appreciate the efforts of these good-hearted corporations and the general public, this is a drop in the bucket in what we actually will need to continue to fight the suffocating and potentially deadly summer,” said Melanie DiLeo, chairwoman, board of directors of Cool Down St. Louis and Missouri State Director for CITI.
Cool Down officials also announced that its working with the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition and their partners to begin another “Check On Your Neighbor” referral program. This summer anyone who knows of a senior, or disabled person, who needs a new or slightly used air-conditioner may report it on-line at www.cooldownstlouis.org, or call the Cool Down Automated hotline at 314-241-7668. The same goes for any needy families with small ill children, who are facing utility shut-offs.
“These are hard times with gasoline at the pumps being outrageously high, and the increase in the cost of food at your grocery store,” said the Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr. “It’s imperative that we check on our elderly and disabled neighbors.”
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, a member of the Greater St. Louis Fire Chiefs Association, announced that his EMS division will also distribute air-conditioners, if it is determined there is a need during his crews’ medical emergency runs.
“Being without a cooling source is emotionally and physically devastating for thousands of seniors and the disabled in need during summer months,” said Chief Jenkerson.
Cool Down St. Louis has become the only local source for the distribution of new or slightly used air-conditioners through Vatterott Educational Centers. Last summer more than 1,350 units were donated by the general public and various corporations. More than 6,500 people’s lives were impacted through utility assistance or air-conditioning distribution.
The charity is deeply concerned that the current economic environment may affect air-conditioner and financial donations this summer. The charity will continue its appeals to corporations, organizations and individuals who want to join its efforts as the regional safety net, keeping area qualified residents cool and health.