Church Collects For Heat Up St. Louis In Honor Of Ailing Pastor

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It was a Super Sunday of another kind in St. Louis: a Super Heat-Up Sunday.  Every year on the day of the Super Bowl, people step up to help those in need cover the cost of staying warm in St. Louis.  This year, people rallied behind the man who helped make it a tradition; a man who now, can really use a "boost in spirits", himself.

It’s become one of the biggest Sunday’s of the year for the Greater Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in North St. Louis; in large part because of its absent pastor, the Reverend Earl Nance, Jr. Nance, a driving force behind Heat Up St. Louis, is recovering from a massive heart attack.

There was good news regarding that recovery, Sunday.

“He’s going much better,” said Dr. James Knight, a church member, Heat Up board member, and Nance’s personal physician.  “He’s in the pulmonary rehab facility at the old Jewish hospital.  Yesterday he was off the respirator for 24 hours.  So he’s much improved.  That’s a big step.”

“This is the day that you have made.  We shall rejoice and be glad in it,” an assistant pastor said to congregation, kicking off the 2012 Super Heat Up Religious Collection Drive.

They rejoiced  by giving; honoring Nance with donations for Heat up St. Louis in the Super Bowl Sunday tradition he helped establish.

“This is a city wide initiative.  Each church is asked to represent with $500.  We will do that,” beamed church deacon, Walter Thomas.

“We’ve always teamed up with the Rams.  We have a fundraiser at the Edward Jones Dome every year [in the fall before a Rams home game].  This is just the finale of it,”Dr. Knight said.

Since its inception, Heat Up has helped than 275,000 St. Louis area people in need cover the cost of staying warm; all the help coming from your donations;  every penny that comes in, goes back out to someone who needs it.   An estimated 60,000 will get help this year, down from 75,000 because donations are falling off.

“Most have to focus simply on heating or eating,” the assistant pastor said.

Certainly the economy is driving down donations but there may be something else at work here, this year in particular: the mild winter.  But this is St. Louis and we know better than to let the weather fool us, right?

“Sure enough, there is going to come a point later in the month, where it gets down to the single digits if not lower,” said Heat Up Board President, Lance LeComb.  “We always see that year after year.  It’s Missouri.  It’s what happens...it’s going to be very cold.  And at night, those heaters, those furnaces, are still kicking on and driving those bills up.”

And once again, St. Louis will respond.

The special collection drive runs through March 5th. Click here to visit the Heat Up St. Louis website.

Follow me: on Twitter: @andybankertv; on Facebook@andybankerfox2;

email: andy.banker@tvstl.com

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