Heat-Up St. Louis Partners with Hardee’s Restaurants, St. Louis Media and 500 Volunteers to Bring Heat to the Needy
Hardee’s Restaurants and the St. Louis electronic, print and social media will again partner with Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc., a regional utility assistance and public education charity covering the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan area in Missouri and Illinois. This year’s region-wide fundraiser on Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14th is more significant than ever before, due to the coldest, deadliest winter experienced by the non-profit charity since its inception in 2000.
The 14th Annual Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat fundraiser will primarily provide made-from-scratch Sausage ‘N Egg biscuit sandwiches for a special price of $1.00 during the breakfast hours of 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 100% of all proceeds from that specific product will go toward helping qualified seniors, disabled and low-income families who need their winter heating restored or who are in danger of having their utilities disconnected. In addition, about 500 volunteers serving as official greeters will accept tips and additional donations in their official Heat-Up St. Louis aprons at about 60 Hardee’s units in Missouri and Illinois.
In an effort to bolster donations and help inform the public of this drastic health and safety issue of being without utilities, area radio and television stations will broadcast live as a “road block” during various early times at Hardee’s locations where some prominent volunteers will be stationed.
“This winter’s record-cold temperatures have left many people in desperate need of energy assistance, and Heat-Up St. Louis is running on empty,” said Melanie DiLeo, chairwoman of the board of directors for the all-volunteer charity. “We are in immediate need of funds because, as soon as donations come in one door, they often are used the same day because utility bills have become outrageously high.”
Mike Moehn, Senior Vice President of Customer Operations for Ameren Missouri is scheduled to make one of the charity’s largest one-time financial presentations to further assist Heat-Up St. Louis and its volunteer efforts.
“Truly, we’re asking everyone on this Valentine’s Day to have a heart and heat a home,” said the Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., chair emeritus and co-chair of this year’s benefit. “The traditional cold snaps have been replaced with bone-chilling weather. This winter has become an expensive challenge for many on fixed incomes or those who just can’t afford utility service.”
All money will stay in the city or county where funds are collected. Money will also be collected in canisters on the front counter of Hardee’s as well as in tips from volunteer greeters positioned in the drive-thrus, parking lots and restaurants. Hardee’s will also expand its special canister-collection-only portion of the fundraiser through Sunday night at participating Hardee’s locations. The restaurant chain 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 service and community action agencies to qualify the needy and keep the donations collected in their respective towns or counties.
“Winter time is traditionally the most unsafe time of the year,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, vice-chair of the HUSTL health and safety committee. “Many people, instead of paying their primary heating bills, decide to use electric space heaters, often in unsafe environments, to keep their families warm.” Jenkerson stressed that the use of unsafe methods of heating homes have often ended in tragedies and extensive property damage throughout the St. Louis region.
About 500 civic, business, media and political volunteers will serve as celebrity greeters in about 60 area participating Hardee’s restaurants, led by honorary board chair St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay; and Heat-Up board members St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann, St. Clair County Board Chair Mark Kern, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, official advocate for seniors; St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson; and newly appointed St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Wentzville Fire Chief Michael Marlo, St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger, St. Louis City Health Director Pamela Walker; Michael J. McMillan, president of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby, Shannon Bagley president of Homestate Health Plan and Heat-Up St. Louis board leadership Melanie DiLeo, Lance LeComb, Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., and Dr. James Knight.
“We’re so indebted to the hundreds of volunteers in the bi-state area who help us bring relief to those struggling with a lack of home heating in these bitterly cold temperatures,” said DiLeo. “It is truly a health and safety issue.”
Additional celebrity greeters include, but are not limited to: the St. Louis Rams, NFL Cheerleaders, St. Louis Cardinal’s Fred Bird, and the Ram’s mascot, Rampage, Arch Rival Roller Girls and employees from Citi, Monsanto, Peabody Energy, St. Louis City and St. Louis County, AFLAC, UMB Bank, and Ranken Jordan, etc. Volunteers will also be on hand from various schools and community organizations. 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 $1.00.
The public can also make tax-deductible donations through the charity’s virtual canister online at its 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.
In the past three months, Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc. has doled out more than $400,000 in utility assistance money within the St. Louis region. “We’re almost broke, too many people have depended on us, as we’ve become the primary safety net instead of a supplemental resource,” said Lance LeComb, board president. “But if donors look at their January natural gas or electric bills, they too will understand the financial impact.” LeComb also pointed out that the charity provides one-time heating grants for propane, and home heating oil, as well as natural gas and electric.
Since its inception, the diverse, all-volunteer, 56-member board of directors has impacted the lives of more than 350,000 people and received more than $9.5 million in various donations. The Board of Directors routinely underwrites 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, and offers online assistance through www.heatupstlouis.org.