Heat-Up St. Louis, a regional non-utility energy assistance charity, covering about 16 Missouri and Illinois counties, including the City of St. Louis kicked-off its first winter fundraiser, the “Rams Boot Out Old Man Winter,” event yesterday on Sunday, November 7 before the Rams game. The group raised more than $25,000, which marked a 20% increase in donations over last year’s event.
About 150 volunteers, including firefighters, media and corporate volunteers were positioned in and around tailgate parties, Baer’s Park and outside of each entrance to the Edwards Jones Dome requesting donations from Rams fans.
“Many working poor in the St. Louis region live paycheck to paycheck, and are desperately attempting to make ends meet”, said Melanie DiLeo, chairwoman of Heat-up St. Louis. “In an effort to stay safe and warm, the elderly and disabled are making difficult and emotional decisions between paying their high delinquent heating or prescription drug bills.”
“We appreciate once again the strong support of those who actually gave to our event. The Rams fans are very generous, as is the Rams management, the hard-working staff at the Dome, including the volunteers and the St. Louis police department,” said Dileo.
Last winter Heat-Up St. Louis raised approximately $20,000 from generous Rams fans. The organization has impacted the lives of more than 12,500 persons last winter. Heat-Up St. Louis received a record-breaking $325,000 in donations during its last winter fundraising cycle.
Heat-Up St. Louis officials tout the fact that 100% of all tax-deductible donations from its special fundraising events and through the direct-bank donations to UMB Bank go toward providing heating grants to restore gas, electric, propane, home heating oil, and coal services during the winter months. The charity partners with multiple area social service and community action agencies to qualify needy households with small children, the elderly and the disabled.
DiLeo observed that the St. Louis region will experience even-higher utility bills versus last winter. “More house fires occur during winter months because people often use unsafe methods of heating their homes,” said DiLeo. “Space heaters become the primary source of heating when their natural gas is shut off or home heating oil has not been delivered.”
The elderly and disabled on fixed incomes suffer the most due to medical ailments often associated with being cold in their homes for a short period of time. Being without heat often acerbates their medical conditions, according to Dr. James Knight, vice chair of the board of directors and co-chair of the health and safety committee.
“With the upcoming flu season, we need to watch our elderly and disabled people,” said Knight. “Being without home heating during a cold or damp weather snap can place their frail health in further peril.”
Heat-Up St. Louis is governed by a 44-member, all-volunteer diverse board of directors. All donations are tax-deductible. For those not attending the St. Louis Rams game, anyone can give a donation either on-line at www.heatupstlouis.org or by making a check payable to: Heat-Up St. Louis, Inc. c/o UMB Bank, P.O. Box 868, St. Louis, MO 63188.
Also during the winter heating season, donations can be dropped off to any bank teller at any Missouri or Illinois UMB Bank Center.