As winter weather approaches the St. Louis metropolitan area, Ameren Missouri today has reached out to Heat-Up St. Louis, the all-volunteer, public education and advocacy regional charity which also provides utility assistance to low-income, the elderly and disabled people, who can’t afford to pay their winter heating bills.
Ameren Charitable Trust Foundation made a $50,000 gift to the regional safety net (HUSTL), at Ameren Missouri headquarters in downtown St. Louis. Ameren has continued to support Heat-Up St. Louis efforts during winter months as well as summer months through its sister program, Cool-Down St. Louis.
“The Gift of Warmth” fundraising project was created to ensure that many needy households during this winter could not be disconnected during the holiday. The fundraiser goes through January 7, 2011, and anyone who wishes to donate may, by going on-line to: www.heatupstlouis.org, or sending a tax-deductible donation to Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc., c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188.
“Ameren continues to take a leadership role as a good corporate citizen,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay, who also serves as honorary chair of this bi-state area charity. “This year, because of the significant reduction in LIHEAP, the federally-funded home heating program, every dollar will be needed to ensure, that the most vulnerable stay safe and warm. We appreciate Ameren’s gift of warmth.”
Through its annual grant, Ameren helps Heat-Up St. Louis continue with its public education and conservation outreach through its “Check On Your Neighbors” on-line and community outreach project, distribution of Cool-Down Cooling Cards, new air-conditioners, a 24-hour automated help hotline, and emergency utility grants throughout the year.
“We’re proud to partner with Heat-Up St. Louis, they do good charitable work throughout the region,” said Richard Mark, senior vice president of customer operations, for Ameren Missouri. “Hopefully, our funds will help them continue with their progressive approach to help educate the general public, especially those needy households who have small budgets that are financially challenging.”
This past year, the charity has reported that it has so far impacted the lives of about 75,000 individuals either through on-line and phone-bank counseling and referrals, one-time supplemental utility assistance grants, or the installation of brand new air-conditioners.
“This has been a tremendous and challenging year for us, and thank God for the charitable hearts of Ameren’s gift of warmth. It has come at time when thousands of area needy households are short on dollars to pay their winter utility bills, and their local natural gas bills appear to be skyrocketing off-the-charts,” said the Reverend Earl. E. Nance, Jr., co-chair of the utility assistance committee.
Heat-Up St. Louis officials also remind the general public of their obligations to make payments on their winter heating bills, despite the Cold Weather Rule, which prohibits disconnection of utility services from November through March, based on the temperature above freezing, and certain commitments made by the ratepayers. “Ameren Missouri also has bills and employees, so it’s only fair, to attempt to pay something on your bill, even though you might seek assistance,” said Nance.
Anyone, who is a senior, disabled person, or low-income, who hasn’t already received utility assistance this year, is encouraged to go on-line at www.heatupstlouis.org, or call 314-241-7668 for a partnering social services agency nearest them, who may have LIHEAP, or Heat-Up St. Louis, and Ameren’s Dollar-More funds.