550 Volunteers Brave the Cold As Celebrity Greeters at the Hardee’s 12th Annual Rise and Shine For Heat-Up Fundraiser
Despite the unseasonably cool winter weather compared to a constantly colder 2011, Heat-Up St. Louis, the regional utility assistance charity continues to get hundreds of requests from bi-state area seniors, the disabled and low-income households with children, who are being threatened with disconnection notices or who require service restoration. The series of cold snaps during the past 30 ” days continue to fire-up the furnaces for thousands, who just can’t afford a utility heating source. Even when the temperatures hover in the 30s, the frail elderly and disabled need to still warm and their furnaces continue to run.
Since, January, the bi-state utility assistance and public education charity has also had direct requests and appeals from its partnering agencies of more than $250,000, but it has been able to help with only $100,000, leaving the need to collect $150,000 from the general public. For the first time in its existence, HUSTL’s winter on-line and UMB donations are off by seventy-five percent, causing it to dip into some special administrative funds which keep the programs of the year around charity operating in the black.
On Friday morning, February 10, from 6:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., about 550 volunteers, who are public and elected officials, social service agency representatives, civic and corporate leaders will serve as celebrity greeters in the 12th Annual Hardee’s Rise and Shine for Heat-Up benefit, in about 60 area Missouri and Illinois area Hardee’s restaurants. The monies collected in either Illinois or Missouri municipalities will remain in those respectively communities needing help. The celebrity greeters will be asking customers for additional donations in their Heat-Up special breakfast aprons. The fast-food chain will also donate its Sausage and Egg Biscuit product, at a special reduced price of $1.00, and 100% of the sells proceeds will go to Heat-Up St. Louis for distribution.
“Don’t let this weather fool you, even when temperatures hover in the 30s, frail seniors, the disabled and households with small children need that protection of warmth,” said Lance LeComb, board president. “We understand that the economy continues to be a challenge for everyone, especially those are making daunting decisions between heating their homes, eating, paying their rent, and buying their groceries.”
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 state and local political leaders, including St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, Clayton Fire Chief Mark Thorp, president of the Greater St. Louis Area Fire Chiefs Association, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, MO Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, Dr. James Knight, HUSTL board president Lance LeComb; St. Louis Fire and Police Chiefs, Dennis Jenkerson and Daniel Isom, respectively, Arch Rival Roller Girls, St. Louis Rams cheerleaders, sports mascots Cardinals Firebird, Rams’ Rampage and first-responders, who cover house fires where residents often use unsafe methods in heating their homes. Despite the unseasonably cool winter so far, there have been numerous house fires throughout the St. Louis region, where unsafe methods of heating may have been a contributing factor. Citi, Peabody Energy, Monsanto, AFLAC, CH2M Hill, and Hardee’s employees are also among the hundreds of volunteers.
This year, Hardee’s will also provide special canister collections for the general public to drop-off any amount during the entire weekend of February 11 thru 12. Larger tax-deductible donations may be given on-line at the secured website of www.heatupstlouis.org. This year’s theme is “Have a
Heart…Heat a Home,” and is dedicated to the charity’s chair emeritus, the Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., who is currently recuperating from a massive heart attack.
“One of the most significant ascertainments of a top community problem continues to be the affordability of utilities,” said Melanie DiLeo, board chairman. “Thanks to the St. Louis media they continue to address the problem of being without a home heating source, as it has become a community-wide health and safety issue, reaching beyond the poverty level.”
Heat-Up St. Louis, the all-volunteer regional utility assistance and public education charity, celebrates its 12th anniversary later this year. During a recent cold snap, Heat-Up St. Louis received an average of 650 calls per day from people still seeking help with their heating bills. So far during the month of January, the independent grass-roots charity and its 14 social service partners have been able to impact the lives of more than 7,500 people with utility restoration or help with the avoidance of shut-offs.
“Until you have visited some of these needy homes, you have no idea of the emotional trauma, and the uncertainty that many of our neediest neighbors face when they get that disconnection notice,” said DiLeo.
Since its inception, Heat-Up St. Louis has impacted the lives of more than 275,000 people through public education, heating grants, and referrals through the resource help hotline at 314-241-7668. Larger donations may be sent to Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc., c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188, or www.heatupstlouis.org.
It’s imperative that we never stop offering people alternatives to using space heaters as their primary heating sources,” said DiLeo. “Unsafe space heaters are the primary causes of house fires during winter.” Wintertime has the highest incidents of home fires, often due to unsafe methods being used to heat homes and apartments.