An Army of 650 Volunteers: Firefighters, Media, Social Service, Business, Political and Civic Leaders; and Board Members Help Heatupstlouis.org Raise Dough and Safety Awareness During 17th Annual Hardee’s “Rise ‘N Shine For Heat” – “Have a Heart…Heat A Home” Project – Friday, Feb. 10
Since Heatupstlouis.org, (now going into its 17th year of operations) embarked on its current winter heating season of 2016/17, it has distributed already $900,000 due to the generosity of public, St. Louis City/County, and utility grants, and board contributions, according to Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., chair emeritus and Melanie DiLeo, board chairwoman of Heatupstlouis.org. Unfortunately, all those funds have been used to previously help thousands of Missouri and Illinois qualified seniors, disabled and low-income residents, with their heating bills.
The 17th Annual Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat, a region-wide fundraiser is scheduled for Friday, February 10, 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 and Reverend Nance 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. This year’s theme is “Have A Heart…Heat A Home.”
Hundreds of crew members for St. Louis area Hardee’s franchisee Pioneer Restaurants LLC will help Heatupstlouis.org collect funds in canisters and from 100% sales of the Sausage ‘N Egg and Egg biscuit sandwiches the morning of Friday, February 10, ONLY; with a canister drive going through that weekend.
About 650 volunteers from area businesses, social services agencies, first-responders, elected officials, the media and health specialists will accept donation tips from customers at the menu boards, drive-thrus and in the dining rooms of area participating Hardee’s. 100% of combined funds collected, will stay in those communities, and used strictly for utility assistance.
“Heatupstlouis.org helps save lives,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, a member of the Fire Chiefs Association of Greater St. Louis, and general co-chair of this year’s bi-state area, Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat project. “Winter time is the most dangerous time for home and apartment fires because some people attempt to use unsafe methods of heating their homes. 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 bi-state area charity depends on grass-roots and public service fundraisers to address utility assistance needs in about 12 MO/IL counties and the City of St. Louis. Heatupstlouis.org is asking the public, this year on Friday, February 10, to tweet #heatupstl or @heatupstl messages in support of its regional efforts.
About 650 civic, religious, business, social service, first-responders, media, political and community leaders will join these honorary chairs invited to participate, and they include: Board President, Lance LeComb; St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, representing Fire Chiefs Association of Greater St. Louis (MO/IL); Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt; Tom Trotter, Operating Partner, Pioneer Restaurants, LLC, (owner of area Hardee’s); Fred Bird, St. Louis Cardinals mascot; St. Louis Charles County Steve Ehlmann; St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay; St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger; St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern; Melanie DiLeo, Board Chairwoman; Rev. Earl E. Nance, Jr., Chair Emeritus, St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition; Brian Leonard, Director of Corporate Initiatives, Ameren Corp; Mary Hutchinson, Community Council of St. Charles County; Pamela Walker, regional health consultant; Michael Patrick McMillan, president, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc; Denise Liebel, United Services for Children; Steve Lemley, SVP, Media/Marketing, Hardee’s Food Systems, LLC, and Michael Moehn, president and chairman, Ameren Missouri, to name a few.
This winter, a series of cold snaps snuck up on the St. Louis bi-state area residents, presenting some high natural gas, electric, propane and home-heating oil bill challenges for thousands, who battle affordability, and may often resort in unsafe methods of heating homes, causing thousands of dollars in property loss, and loss of lives. In the past, the St. Louis region has experienced infant and senior deaths, often due to the use of space heaters.
Unfortunately, contributions from this year’s unusually mild winter have lagged, because when temperatures are consistently above freezing for a short period, people do not see the importance of giving. Even in a mild winter, many sections of the bi-state area have old housing stock, often with poor or no weatherization. Heatupstlouis.org supports health, safety, weatherization and energy efficiency, along with utility budget programs in an increasingly aging and low-income population area.
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. HUSTL Vice Chair Dr. James Knight, also points out that a senior or disabled person’s health can be exacerbated by not having a primary consist home heating source.
The St. Louis radio and television stations have been invited annually to provide live news remote coverage throughout much of the 5:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. breakfast period, (depending on the opening times, when some area Hardee’s may serve breakfast). Melanie DiLeo, Board Chairwoman of HUSTL stressed that the media plays a dynamic role in protecting the health and safety interests of area needy households through their annual staunch non-competitive support of this regional 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 financial 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 us, because all of the monies collected stay right here in our community.”
In addition, about 650 volunteers will be wearing two-pocket collection aprons at various drive-thrus, menu boards and in the dining rooms, collecting tips only on February 10. Area groups and corporations can also go online at www.heatupstlouis.org and register for pre-bulk sandwich purchases through Wednesday, February 8. 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 10-12.
“Being without a home heating source during this winter can trigger major health and safety issues for the most vulnerable, and Heatupstlouis.org 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, and honorary co-chair. “For 17 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.” In 2016, HUD and St. Louis County Planning department, provided more than $400,000 in utility grants to Heatupstlouis.org. All those funds have been used to reduced or eliminate summer and fall utility bills for hundreds of County residents.
Stenger, also said the strength behind this long-time regional charitable event are the 650 volunteers serving as greeters, who encourage businesses and customers to give them tips, at the area (MO/IL) Hardee’s franchisee units. “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 Heatupstlouis.org that has been a blessing for thousands 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.
Monies collected as tips from volunteers positioned in the drive-thrus, menu boards, and restaurants along with canisters on the counter will also stay in the respective city or county where collected.
“Hardee’s and Heat-Up St. Louis have developed an incredible partnership over the past 17 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 6,000 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 and Egg and 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.” St. Louis City will provide a significant grant announcement during the Hardee’s Rise ‘N Shine for Heat fundraiser.
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 and Egg biscuit or Egg biscuit sandwiches for $1 each. 100% of those proceeds also go to Heatupstlouis.org. Hardee’s franchisee and Ameren underwrote the costs of the pocket-collection aprons, and other expenses, so there’s no administrative costs.
The public can also make tax-deductible donations through the charity’s secured website at: www.heatupstlouis.org, or by a 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 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, Heatupstlouis.org has four other executive board members from the St. Charles County area.
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.
“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 J. Kim Tucci, Board President Emeritus of Heatupstlouis.org. “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 58 members, diverse, all-volunteer board of directors has impacted the lives of more than 324,000 persons and received more than $13.5 million in various small 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, public education and advocacy initiatives. The charity also operates a resource automated hotline at 314-241-7668, as well as on-line assistance through www.heatupstlouis.org.