On Saturday, February 4, 2012, the regional, all-volunteer, bi-state area utility assistance charity, Heat-Up St. Louis kicks off its 12th annual Super Heat-Up Religious Collection Drive. While friendly wagers are being taken for the annual football championship between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, Heat-Up St. Louis wants the public in Missouri and Illinois to remember the elderly, disabled and low-income people have difficulties paying their winter heating bills, due to the ongoing cold snaps. The special collection drive which ends on March 5 is also being encouraged, by KSDK, Newschannel 5 and radio station, KTRS-A.M.
This year’s special collection drive is being dedicated to the Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., chair emeritus and co-chair of the HUSTL allocation committee, who is recuperating from health issues.
“Before his heart attack, Rev. Nance has been a full-force behind our volunteer and fundraising efforts in reaching out to the least of them,” said Lance LeComb, board president of the all-volunteer charity. “Here’s a chance for the religious and secular communities to come together and remember the Reverend, as he has never forgotten the poor and elderly.”
The special religious collection is also a call-to-action requesting that area churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship consider either taking up a collection, or giving from their ‘poor fund’ a grant or donation to help thousands of Bi-state area qualified seniors, disabled and poor households with children, who are struggling to stay safe and warm this winter.
Donations can be made to: Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc., c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO, 63188, or through the secured website, at www.heatupstlouis.org. 100% of all donations are used toward servicing those in need, as expenses are underwritten by an all-volunteer, board of directors.
“This is a tough time for many of our brothers and sisters of various faiths,” said Melanie DiLeo, chairwoman of the board of directors of Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc. “Some of the less fortunate congregations are also struggling to keep their houses of worships warm, too, so in there lies the challenges.” DiLeo said many congregations have huge utility bills, as well.
However, many of the area needy 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, due to these constant winter cold snaps where the weather cycles above freezing three to four days straight.
“Part of the Christian/Judeo belief teaches us that charity comes before self, and if we can open our hearts to others, blessing will often flow our way,” said Gentry W. Trotter, founder of HUSTL. “Heat-Up St. Louis has faith in the religious leadership of the St. Louis community, and with all of the world challenges, I think locally we can make a generous difference.”
Since its inception, Heat-Up St. Louis has impacted the lives of more than 277,000 people through public education, heating grants, and referrals through the resource help hotline at 314-241-7668, or www.heatupstlouis.org.
Heat-Up St. Louis officials warn that winter months have the highest incidents of home and apartment fires, often due to the use of unsafe heating method in homes. Officials also urge the public to avoid using electric heaters as a primary heating source. There have been various house fires because of such incidents, already during this 2011/12 winter heating season.
Background: 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 in some form.
Editor’s Note: For additional information call the Media Hotline at 314-369-7407
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