This morning I was among several volunteers collecting donations for Heat Up St. Louis , a regional nonprofit organization. Heat Up St. Louis provides energy assistance to help seniors and poor households in Missouri and Illinois.
All of the administrative costs for the event were underwritten by Hardee's, which featured sausage and egg biscuits for just one dollar. All money collected from the biscuit sales goes right back into the community where there is a Hardee's. And, was there ever a crowd this morning!
The temperature was below freezing when my sister Kathleen and I arrived around 7 a.m. for our two-hour shift at the Hardee's on Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters. Even though I wore a winter coat, scarf, and gloves, it didn't take look to get chilly. Several other Vincentians from All Saints Parish were among those brave souls collecting for this worthy cause.
The support from other organizations and businesses who showed up to help collect was impressive. Volunteers were from groups as diverse as: Citicorp Mortgage, UMB Bank, Monsanto, North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC), and local radio station 97.1.
Tom Terbrock, from the Dave Glover Show on 97.1, braved the cold weather and collected donations with a few of us in the drive-thru. Tom was enthusiastic and sincere when he told me how much he supports the energy assistance program. I told him a little about what our parish's St. Vincent de Paul conference does to help assist needy families pay their utility bills. (I also told him how much my husband Walt enjoys listening to him and Dave on the Dave Glover Show.)
Another enthusiastic young lady from 97.1 handed out tee-shirts and pens to diners inside Hardee's. A friendly young man named John from UMB smiled and joked as he collected funds with me in the drive-thru. He seemed to be having a good time -- and told me how much he loves his job at UMB. Donna, from the North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC), and I talked about the growing need for energy assistance in St.Charles County.
The generosity of people digging deep into their pockets to help others was amazing. Just about everyone waiting in the drive-thru or walking into the restaurant -- from construction workers, utility company employees, teachers, school bus drivers, businesspeople, World War II and Vietnam veterans, senior citizens, to families -- made donations.
I held the door for a mother and her young children, who took turns placing handsful of coins into my canister. Other donations ranging from one dollar, to a handful of dollars, fives, tens, and twenties were stuffed into the containers. One generous woman even wrote out a check for $100!
By the time my shift was over, my feet and fingers were cold and my nose was almost as red as Rudolph's, but my heart was warmed by the generosity of the good people from the St. Peters-St. Charles community.