Heat-Up St. Louis Is Almost On Empty: 600 Volunteers Pitch-In For 15th Annual Hardee’s “Rise ‘N Shine For Heat” — A Neighbors Helping Neighbors Project
Since Heat-Up St Louis, Inc., (now celebrating its 15th anniversary) embarked on its current winter heating season of 2014/15, it has distributed more than $550,000 due to the generosity of public and private sectors, and board contributions, according to Melanie DiLeo, Board Chairwoman of Heat-Up St. Louis. Unfortunately, contributions this heating season have lagged behind the previous heating season by 35%. However, the requests to help Missouri and Illinois qualified seniors, disabled and low-income residents facing a lack of home heating, or a disconnection notice, continues to rise at a steady pace. DiLeo also points out that a senior or disabled person’s health can be exacerbated by not having a primary consist home heating source.
“Winter time has the highest incidents of home and apartment fires because some people attempt to use unsafe methods of heating their homes,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, and co-chair of health and safety committee at Heat-Up St. Louis. “It’s important to work with the utilities and keep your primary home heating source connected, especially during the winter months, as your health and safety become more critically important to you and your family.” The Fire Chiefs Association of Greater St. Louis and the Clergy Coalition of Metropolitan St. Louis are also encouraging the public to help reduce the high numbers of those in need of utility assistance.
Hardee’s Food Systems, will again partner with Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc., (HUSTL) through its 15th Annual Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat, region-wide fundraiser on Friday, February 13, during breakfast, at bi-state area participating Hardee’s restaurants, which will assist many rural, urban and suburban needy residents in paying their high delinquent winter heating bills. DiLeo stressed that need has no geographic boundaries, and that state and federal governments can’t do it all, and volunteer partnerships like HUSTL is an ever-expanding fiscal safety net for the St. Louis region. Hardee’s officials insist their annual partnership project with Heat-Up St. Louis is about “neighbors helping neighbors.”
“Heat-Up St. Louis has played a critical role in St. Charles County, helping our most vulnerable seniors, disabled and low-income families with their winter heating bills,” said St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann and honorary board vice chair. “We depend on the generosity of our County residents and businesses to support the Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat annually. The fact that 100% of all funds collected by volunteers and the sale of a Hardee’s breakfast product effectively helps HUSTL and its social service partners impact the well-being of many of our residents each winter.” In addition to Ehlmann, Heat-Up St Louis has four other executive board members from the St. Charles County area.
Hardee’s will donate its Sausage ‘N Egg biscuit product by selling it for the special price of $1.00, and 100% from the sale will benefit Heat-Up St Louis, Inc., and about 10 of its partnering social service agencies in the bi-state area, including as far away as Jefferson, Lincoln, Pike, and Warren counties. Hardee’s in Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois and other Missouri counties, including St. Louis County and St. Charles; and the City of St. Louis are also a part of the annual fundraiser.
“For many families in St. Clair and the surrounding Illinois counties, it has been, so far for some of our elderly, disabled and low-income people, a financially challenging winter in term of their inabilities to pay their heating bills,” said Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board Chairman, and a member of the Heat-Up St. Louis, governing board of directors. “The annual Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat has become a godsend in its partnership with Heat-Up St. Louis, because all of the monies collected stay right here in our community.”
In addition to volunteers who will be wearing aprons or an official gold volunteer pin at various drive-thrus, menu boards and in the dining rooms, collecting tips only on February 13; area groups and corporations can also go online at www.heatupstlouis.org and register for pre-bulk sandwich purchases through Thursday, February 12 at 10:00 a.m. This year, because of the need being so great, Hardee’s will expand its canister collection ONLY portion of the fundraiser through the weekend of February 14-15.
“Being without a home heating source during this winter can trigger major health and safety issues for the most vulnerable, and Heat-Up St. Louis often serves as that safety net providing supplemental or primary grants to thousands of qualified Missouri and Illinois residents, in particular seniors and disabled people residing in St. Louis County,” said St. Louis County Executive Steven V. Stenger, a new HUSTL board member. “For 15 years Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat, a region-wide fundraiser has been that impactful financial vehicle making it possible to keep our county residents’ utilities connected.”
Stenger, also said the strength behind this long-time regional charitable event are the 600 volunteers serving as greeters, who encourage businesses and customers to give them tips, as they are also directed to obtain a Sausage ‘N Egg biscuit product, in exchange for a $1 from a Hardee’s crew member, at the counter or drive-thru window. All proceeds are then donated to Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc.
The St. Louis radio and television stations have been invited to provide live news and remote coverage throughout much of the 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. breakfast period, (even though some media may start earlier, as some area Hardee’s may serve or prepare breakfast earlier). Lance LeComb, Board President of HUSTL stressed that the media plays a dynamic role in protecting the interests of area needy households through their annual staunch support of this regional fundraiser.
“Often about this time during the winter, various utility funding pots in the St. Louis region are exhausted,” said Michael Patrick McMillan, President and CEO, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. “ ‘Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat’ fundraiser is a critical partnership with Heat-Up St Louis that has been a blessing for hundreds of qualified seniors, disabled and low-income families throughout the bi-state area waiting in line for some sort of heating assistance.” McMillan is also a member of HUSTL executive board and his agency partners with Heat-Up St. Louis qualifying some bi-state clients.
About 600 civic, business, media and political volunteers led by Steve Lemley, honorary general chair and Senior Vice President with Hardee’s; Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, St. Louis County Executive Steven V. Stenger, St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board Chairman; St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Michael McMillan, President and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, noted vascular surgeon Dr. James Knight, also Health and Safety Co-Chair, HUSTL; Michael Moehn, Chairman and President of Ameren Missouri; Brian Leonard, Director of Corporate Initiatives, Ameren Corp; St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, Fire Chiefs Association of Greater St. Louis, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Rams’ Kevin Demoff; J. Kim Tucci, President and Co-Partner of The Pasta House Co; St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, St. Louis Health Director Pam Walker, Melanie DiLeo HUSTL Board Chair, Lance LeComb, Board President, HUSTL, Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., Chair Emeritus, HUSTL , Dr. Bernard Shore, Medical Director, Homestate Health Plan and Denise Liebel, Executive VP of the Heat-Up St. Louis board will contribute their volunteer time to this annual event, and serve as spokespersons the day of the event.
Monies collected as tips from volunteers positioned in the drive-thrus, parking lots and the restaurants along with canisters on the counter will also stay in the respective city or county where collected. Hardee’s will expand its canister collection portion of the fundraiser through the weekend of February 13-15.
“Hardee’s and Heat-Up St. Louis have developed an incredible partnership over the past 15 years to help keep area seniors, people who are disabled, and low-income individuals warm and safe during the winter by paying their utility bills,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, and honorary board chair of HUSTL. “More than 5,000 volunteers and countless more customers have continued to help make the annual Rise ‘N Shine a major success because of their generosity. Canister collections and sales of Sausage ‘N Egg biscuits go directly to Heat-Up St. Louis and its partners, and those funds stay in their respective local communities to help our neighbors in need.”
Fire Chief Chuck Marsonette of Monarch Fire District; the St. Louis Rams’ NFL Cheerleaders and staff, St. Louis Cardinals’ Fred Bird, Rampage, the Rams’ mascot, and volunteers from Arch Rival Roller Girls, Monsanto, AFLAC, UMB Bank, Peabody Energy, CITI, Ranken Jordan, St. Louis County officials, Homestate Health, Hardee’s, CH2M Hill, St. Louis City Health Department, St. Vincent DePaul, Northeast Community Action Agency, Community Council of St. Charles County, students from the Academy of Sacred Hearts, Catholic Urban Programs of Southern Illinois, Urban League of Madison County, and Urban League of Greater St. Louis will participate as celebrity greeters. The volunteers will all wear official Heat-Up/Hardee’s collection aprons and will accept tips from the customers, while referring them to Hardee’s employees to purchase specially priced Sausage ‘N Egg biscuit sandwiches for $1 each.
The public can also make tax-deductible donations through the charity’s secured website at: www.heatupstlouis.org, or by check or money order to Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc., c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188. A direct donation is 100% tax deductible, as prescribed by law.
Heat-Up St. Louis oversees and approves all of the applicants, who are being qualified by its bi-state partnering agencies, and those who come through its website or resource hotline in Missouri and Illinois. However, HUSTL also partners throughout the year, providing public education on energy efficiency, budgeting and referrals in concert with its partnering agencies, including Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Laclede Gas, etc. to help low-income ratepayers. Checks on Your Neighbors and Vatterott S.O.S. projects are also part of its summer efforts via Cool- Down St. Louis.
Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr. pointed out that Heat-Up St. Louis funds may often be the only source of assistance in some parts of the St. Louis region. LIHEAP, the federal program, qualifies certain income levels, and several other utility or government programs are used with Heat-Up St. Louis grants, as a supplemental source to re-connect service or stop a disconnection notice due to the sizes of the utility bill. However, of late, Heat-Up St. Louis has become the primary source for utility assistance, putting a financial strain on its fundraising efforts. Heat-Up St. Louis in partnership with the St. Louis Health Department and The Affordable Housing Trust Fund also manages the city’s utility assistance distribution program.
While this press release was issued on a bitter cold snowy winter day in January, Rev. Nance reminds the public: “Don’t let the often unseasonably warm weather fool you,” said the Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., chair emeritus and co-chair of this year’s benefit. “The cold snaps within the past 30 days have kept those furnaces running, often day and night, posing an expensive challenge for many on fixed incomes, or those who just can’t afford utility service.”
Hardee’s has partnered with Heat-Up St. Louis for the past 15 years. The quick-service chain also underwrites the costs of the product, aprons and other administration expenses to ensure that 100% of all sales and tips collected go to Heat-Up St. Louis. HUSTL in turn partners with major social services and community action agencies to qualify the needy and keep the donations collected in their respective towns or counties.
“What has made our efforts of public education, advocacy and utility assistance a critical regional safety net has been the generosity of the public and the magnificent support of the electronic and print media,” said Melanie DiLeo, Board Chairwoman of Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc. “The media realizes that being without a home heating source has become a top serious public health and safety issue that continues to negatively impact the quality of life for thousands of bi-state area residents.”
Since its inception, the 56 member, diverse, all-volunteer board of directors has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 persons and received more than $10 million in various donations. The Board of Directors and corporate donors routinely underwrite year-round all administration costs, so that 100% of public donations are used solely to provide utility assistance. The charity also operates a resource automated hotline at 314-241-7668, as well as on-line assistance through www.heatupstlouis.org.