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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 1, 2010

Hardee’s 10th Annual Rise and Shine For Heat-UP Fundraiser Helps Area Seniors, and Poor Families Stay Safe and Warm - “Have A Heart…Heat A Home” During Hardee’s 100% Donated Fundraiser

On Friday, February 12, 2010, while thousands of area Missouri and Illinois residents celebrate Valentine’s Day Weekend, hundreds of area seniors, disabled and poor households with children are struggling to stay safe and warm this winter. Many of the area residents are in desperate need of obtaining utility assistance in an effort to keep their services from being discontinued and many are trying to get their services restored.

The 10th Annual Hardee’s Rise and Shine for Heat-Up benefit, gives area individuals, civic, religious and corporate groups a chance to engage in volunteering by serving as celebrity greeters in more than 60 area Missouri and Illinois area restaurants. On Friday, February 12, ONLY, The fast-food chain donates its Sausage and Egg Biscuit product, at a special price of $1.00, and 100% of the sells proceeds will go to Heat-Up St. Louis and the funds will stay in the respective county. Hardee’s will also provide special canister collections for the general public to drop off any amount during the entire weekend of February 12 thru 14. Larger tax-deductible donations may be given on-line at the secured web site of www.heatupstlouis.org. This year’s theme is “Have a Heart…Heat a Home.”

Also more than 400 volunteers are scheduled to serve as celebrity greeters on Friday, February 12 during the morning breakfast hours of 6:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. They will be positioned (wearing special aprons) in the dining room, drive-thru and by the menu board of each Hardee’s unit, requesting extra tax-deductible donations. Area media will also host a series of live-roadblocks from various Hardees’ locations with various drop-bys of Heat-Up St. Louis board members and other prominent civic, business and political leaders.

Heat-Up St. Louis, the all-volunteer regional utility assistance and public education charity, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. During the recent severe cold snap, Heat-Up St. Louis received an average of 210 calls per day from people seeking help with their heating bills. During January, the independent grass-roots charity received inquiries from more than 3,500 people. Through its efforts, Heat-Up and some of its 14 partnering MO/ILL agencies have aided more than 4,500 with utility restoration or help with the avoidance of shut-offs. In February those numbers of people in need are expected to double, potentially hitting 10,000 and that's based on availability of funds.

“These are dangerous and extremely tough times, attempting to meet the awesome needs of literally thousands of needy households within our region is mind-boggling,” said Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., longtime board member and Heat-Up St. Louis’ chair emeritus. “We need to save lives, we need to keep people warm, and we need to help hundreds, who are making daunting decisions between heating their homes, eating, paying their rent, and buying their prescription drugs.”

Some celebrity greeters participating in the Feb. 12 fundraiser include Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, general campaign chair for Heat-Up St. Louis; St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, honorary board chair; St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, honorary co-chair; Joe Bommarito, vice president of the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association; St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson; Lance LeComb of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, a board member; Melanie DiLeo of Citigroup, a chairwoman; Rev. Earl E. Nance Jr. of the Metropolitan Clergy Coalition, Chair Emeritus; St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom; Aldermanic President Lewis Reed; Lance LeComb, spokesperson for MSD; St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch; the Missouri Baptist Cheerleaders; and the Arch Rival Roller Girls. In addition, other Heat-Up St. Louis board members, local mayors, fire and law enforcement agents, state and federal officials also have been invited to participate in the 3 1/2-hour fundraiser.

“Until you visit some of these needy homes, you have no idea of the bitter cold, the emotional trauma, and the uncertainty that many of our neediest neighbors face,” said Rev. Earl Nance.

Since its inception, Heat-Up St. Louis has impacted the lives of more than 199,000 people through public education, heating grants, and referrals through the resource help hotline at 314-241-7668.

Heat-Up St. Louis officials warn that winter months have the highest incidents of home and apartment fires, often due to use of unsafe heating method in homes. Officials also urge the public to avoid stealing electric and natural gas, because it can literally blow-up in their faces -- killing people, and destroying homes and apartments within the neighborhood, etc.

“It’s imperative that we never stop offering people alternatives to using space heaters as their primary heating sources,” said Melanie DiLeo, chairwoman of Heat-Up’s board of directors. “Unsafe space heaters are the primary causes of house fires.”

Potential clients who wish to qualify for energy assistance are required to provide proof of income and a photo ID, etc. Heat-Up St. Louis offers help to qualified seniors, disabled, and low-income people (based on income and health issues) in the City of St. Louis and 17 nearby Missouri and Illinois counties. Heat-Up St. Louis works with people who have been disconnected (or are in danger of becoming disconnected) from their utility services. In the City, heating grants are limited to $600; in other areas of the region, grants are limited to $250, with emergency grants upward to $300. People can only obtain Heat-Up supplement utility funds once in a fiscal year. Those needy help should call the Resource Automated Hotline at 314-241-7668, or log onto www.heatupstlouis.org

Heat-Up St. Louis representatives also stressed the importance that all Missouri residents take full advantage of the Cold Weather Rule, which prohibits shut-offs of utility service when the temperature is forecasted to drop below freezing. Residents who realize they may have problems paying their utility bills should take the first step of notifying the utility company. The Missouri Cold Weather Rule also requires utilities to notify clients about possible financial help for utility bills, prohibits disconnection of registered low-income elderly or disabled customers who make a minimum payment, and allows customers to budget their payments over 12 months. Similar arrangements may exist in Illinois.

Editor’s note: For additional information call the Media Hotline at 314-369-7407

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