EnergyCare was featured in a NPR Science Friday Episode, check it out by clicking on the link below! 

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External link opens in new tab or windowThe Hot And Cold Past Of The Air Conditioner

How was air-conditioning invented—and how will it exist in our climate-changed future?

Long-Time EnergyCare Ally Ms. Joanna May:

I don’t remember exactly when I became aware of EnergyCare. But I think it was back in the early 1980s when I was working at Saint Louis University. Some of the SLU nursing students were living in The Saum on South Grand that summer and they regaled me with stories of how unbearably hot it was in their apartments, especially at night when they were trying to fall asleep.

Sister Pat Kelly, EnergyCare’s founder, was also living at The Saum at that time, though I’m not sure I was aware of this until I read of her untimely death while living there. So, The Saum and very warm St. Louis summer nights and Sister Pat became forever linked in my brain from that time on.

When I first saw an appeal for funds from EnergyCare, probably in the South County Journal or the Concord Call, the memory of Sister Pat and warm summer nights at The Saum converged once again in my brain and tugged at my heart to respond with a donation. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

For there I was in my South County apartment, living quite comfortably thanks to the cool air flowing dependably from my AC vents. And I recalled the students’ tales of window fans, wet towels (placed strategically on warm skin) and lying very still trying to fall asleep. I’ve been giving to EnergyCare ever since.

Things I took very much for granted – cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter – were not everyone’s good fortune. Many elderly poor who lived in some of the larger, older homes in St. Louis had no AC in the summer and drafty windows in the winter. I began giving regularly to EnergyCare, starting with an amount that was the approximate equivalent of my budget-billed cooling bill.

Fast Forward to today. The stories I continue to read in EnergyCare’s quarterly newsletters are so heartwarming. The elderly poor who receive a window AC unit in the summer or a space heater or blankets in the winter or who have their home weatherized prior to the start of the cold weather are so appreciative of these improvements to their daily life that I feel they have helped me – to appreciate the everyday blessings I can easily take for granted.

I am so grateful to everyone at EnergyCare for the wonderful work they continue to do, year in and year out, and for using my donations to enable their life-saving mission – “Saving Lives by Degrees.” It’s a Win-Win!


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Helping vulnerable, low-income people find safety from extreme temperatures since 1983