Cool Down St. Louis Solicits Aid of Area Clergy Coalition and Businesses
To Execute A Three-Part Grass Roots Emergency Program To Win
The Battle Against Heat-Related Deaths and Illnesses
St. Louis County Cool Down St. Louis, a new regional nonprofit, all-volunteer, cooling assistance program providing air-conditioners and paying electric bills for seniors and the disabled during the summer months, announced today, a three-part grass roots emergency program to help in the battle against heat-related deaths and illnesses, in parts of Missouri and Illinois. The announcement was made at the offices of STEP, Inc., one of the networking social service and community action agencies.
The efforts unveiled included the development and distribution of more than 100,000 Cooling Assistance cards co-sponsored by the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition. The "Be A Good Neighbor...Check On Your Neighbors" cards provide safety and health tips, in addition to educating the elderly, disabled and needy families with critically-ill children on how to get cooling assistance; the announcement of a major donation of 100 air-conditioners by a North St. Louis County apartment complex; and a radio and television public service campaign. Hardee's Restaurants and The Pasta House Co. officials were also on hand to make donations toward the purchase of additional air-conditioners. In addition, several needy families also received Cool Down funds for their electric bills and brand new air-conditioners.
More than1,700 area congregations will soon receive these cooling assistance cards, and there is a place for the parishioner to leave his or her name and telephone number to stay in contact with those in need of utility assistance, an air-conditioner or a cooling grant to help pay for their disconnected or threatened electric bills. In addition, by the end of the week, a total of about 175 locations of Hardee's Restaurants, Schnucks Supermarkets and UMB Bank centers will have available these "Check On Your Neighbor" cards for their customers.
"The church is the first line of defense in fighting life-threatening health and safety issues," said Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., president of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition, and vice chairman of the board of director for Cool Down St. Louis. "The electric companies continue to show no mercy, thus pushing the needy into a deep mental and physical devastation pit of hopelessness, and this has proven to be deadly. And some seniors refuse to turn on their air-conditioners."
During the press conference, Cool Down St. Louis officials also called on area elected officials and the public utility commissions to give the needy utility customers some immediate relief, by reducing their bills, or extending their payments. Tax-deductible donations can be made to Cool Down St. Louis, c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188 or on line at http://www.cooldownstlouis.org.
Representatives also in attendance at the press conference were Dr. Jacquelyn Meeks, director of St. Louis County Health Department; Jim Buford, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis; Denise Liebel, director of Northeast Community Action Agency in St. Charles County; Larry Brayman, director of corporate affairs for Hardee's Food Systems, and Merline Anderson, executive director of STEP, Inc.