Ameren Missouri Donates 540 ENERGY STAR® Air Conditioners to Cooldownstlouis.org for Distribution throughout Missouri
Event also unveils the Save Our Seniors (S.O.S) Project
ST. LOUIS (June 21, 2016) – With Monday, beginning the official day of summer, the St Louis region has already experienced days of life-threatening heat. However, as part of its annual Cool Down Air Conditioner Giveaway, Ameren Missouri donated 540 window air conditioners to Cooldownstlouis.org, a regional not-for-profit public education and resource charity, which will distribute them to disabled and elderly Ameren Missouri customers throughout eastern Missouri. This is the 11th year that Ameren Missouri has sponsored the giveaway.
“As a company, Ameren Missouri has built our reputation on providing safe and reliable energy to 1.2 million customers in communities throughout our state. However, we also connect with communities through a variety of unique programs – such as our Cool Down Air Conditioner Giveaway,” said Michael Moehn, president, Ameren Missouri. “We’re fortunate to have Cooldownstlouis.org as a dedicated and long-time proven partner, leading this initiative. Over the years, we have formed a successful partnership that aims to keep people cool and safe during the hot summer months. We are proud to support Cooldownstlouis.org and its partner agencies, which do an outstanding job distributing the air conditioners.”
The air conditioners are ENERGY STAR®-certified units that meet the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy. They cost approximately 75 cents per day to operate. Eligible recipients (seniors and people with disabilities only) have already been selected by Cooldownstlouis.org and its partner agencies, which uses age and certain medical circumstances to determine qualification.
The annual giveaway is supported by Cooldownstlouis.org board officials: St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay; St. Louis County Executive Steve V. Stenger; St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann; St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, who also represents the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association; Melanie DiLeo, board chair; Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., board emeritus; Pamela Walker, retired St. Louis City Health Director; and Merline Anderson, executive director, St. Louis County Community Action Agency.
“We were fortunate to have a mild summer in 2015, but dangerously hot St. Louis humid days, experienced last week, can be worrisome for many of our neighbors,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, honorary board chair, Cooldownstlouis.org. “Seniors and people with physical disabilities shouldn’t have to choose between cooling their homes to a safe and comfortable temperature and putting their lives at risk. That’s why this is an effective partnership between Cooldownstlouis.org and Ameren Missouri. Ameren Missouri’s generosity helps Cooldownstlouis.org find and protect our most vulnerable neighbors facing dangerous situations. Please help us by checking on your neighbors and letting them know that resources are available to help them stay alive by keeping on the air. The City also partners with Cooldownstlouis.org with utility assistance for those who qualify.”
If you are a senior or person with physical disabilities and need help, visit Cooldownstlouis.org or call the automated hotline at 1.314.241.7668.
“For our EMS crews here in the City, and throughout the metro area, an air-conditioner is truly often that saving grace and life-line to avoiding strokes and so many other physical ailments caused by the stress of hot and unforgiven summer days,” said Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, a member of the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association. “We appreciate Cooldownstlouis.org and Ameren Missouri’s partnership. We significantly benefit by this exceptional corporate generosity.”
Along with making a donation valued at about $100,000 in 640 energy efficient window units, Ameren Missouri also provided critically important maintenance instructions with each unit.
“Keeping on the air this summer is something that concerns Cooldownstlouis.org. By visiting our area seniors and disabled neighbors this reassures us that they are enjoying a cool quality of life,” said Melanie DiLeo, Cooldownstlouis.org board chair. “One of the biggest problems we have observed over the years is the lack of proper maintenance. Anyone can keep a filter clean; that helps maximize the cooling of your unit. Ameren Missouri is doing a great job in that education process. Finally, affordability has always been an issue with our clients, and the combination of these donated units and availability of utility funds in the marketplace should be comforting. But donations are always needed, as we continue to help fight the oppressive and dangerous St. Louis heat.”
As part of the Cooldownstlouis.org S.O.S. project, officials are reminding other area corporations and the public that they too can donate a new or slightly used air conditioner (no less than two years old) to the regional charity by dropping off a unit at any Vatterott College campus. More information and locations are available at Cooldownstlouis.org.
“We consider the air conditioners donated by Ameren Missouri, a gift of life for many of our St. Louis County seniors and people with physical disabilities, who can’t afford to stay cool this summer. Ameren Missouri’s generosity helps our most vulnerable residents remain healthy and safe during smothering summer days,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, honorary vice chair, Cooldownstlouis.org. “We also want to remind all of our residents, who have AC units throughout the St. Louis region, in particular, St. Louis County, to keep the air on and worry about your electricity second. If that is a problem, call us or go online to Cooldownstlous.org. This month, St. Louis County provided a $250,000 grant for electric utilities to Cooldownstlouis.org to help supplement “some of the bills” for qualified low-income County families, as well. But local government can’t do it all. We welcome donations from as many abled County neighbors as possible. We need to avoid as many heat-related incidents as humanly possible.”
St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, honorary co-chair, Cooldownstlouis.org, also expressed appreciation of Ameren Missouri and its commitment to the annual giveaway.
“In our 11th year of partnership with Ameren Missouri, it’s clear that need, knows no geographic boundaries. We have similar challenges in St. Charles County, as our urban Missouri needy neighbors. That’s why these gifts of life are most critical for the most vulnerable in helping them avoid potential heat-related issues. The people of St. Charles are grateful for the effective teamwork of Ameren Missouri, Cooldownstlouis.org and our three networking St. Charles agency partners. Because of everyone’s collective efforts, hopefully, we all will experience a much safer and cooler summer during 2016.”
“On behalf of the Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, and speaking for all of the Cooldownstlouis.org Missouri agency partners, we want Ameren Missouri to know that their generosity is deeply appreciated,” said retiring executive director Merline Anderson, CAASTLC. “In my 26 years as executive director of a social service agency, Cooldownstlouis.org for the past 16 years has been one of those most effective links of re-assuring supplemental and primary utility bill funding, and connecting the dots of other needed human services for thousands of County residents. Ameren Missouri is a strong connecting dot when it comes to keeping those needy people cool and alive, each summer.”
“Many government and private agencies are strapped for cash and have the inability to purchase brand new units,” said board member Pam Walker, a former St. Louis City Health Director. “Cooldownstlouis.org’s creation of the Cooling Air Conditioning Caravan, in partnership with Ameren Missouri, has a legacy of assuring that our area fragile neighbors are protected from what could be a deadly summer. When I was the City’s Health Director, we were often in panic mode during some bleak summer days searching for air conditioners, but I knew I could at least count on referring people to Cooldownstlouis.org, who used wisely, the Ameren Missouri donated units. Saving lives, and avoiding heat strokes is the primary reason I’m happy to be on this all-volunteer board. Ameren Missouri and Cooldownstlouis.org is a cool partnership.”
“This heat has creeped up on us, so it’s important to have everyone check on their elderly and disabled neighbors to avoid heat-related illnesses,” said Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., board emeritus. “Thanks to Ameren Missouri, we’re able to distribute thousands of our Check on Your Neighbor Cooling Cards, which continue to be a proven valuable resource for those in need.”
Nance indicated that the Clergy Coalition of Greater St. Louis, City/County human services, and area health departments have been asked to distribute these cooling cards to thousands of area residents who are seeking assistance or cooling advice as part of the S.O.S. project.
Last year, Cooldownstlouis.org distributed about 1,000 donated air conditioners thanks to Ameren Missouri and the general public through Vatterott College, etc. Since its inception however, the all-volunteer summer charity has distributed more than 9,500 units. If a senior or person with physical disabilities needs assistance, please visit the Cooldownstlouis.org website or call the organization’s automated hotline at 1.314.241.7668. Funds are available on a first-come basis to those who qualify.
Along with promoting heat safety and the importance of running an air conditioner during the hot summer months, Ameren Missouri invites customers to learn about its energy efficiency programs, which offer rebates to replace inefficient air conditioner units and a variety of other programs that help customers save energy and money. More information is available at AmerenMissouri.com/rebates.