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Rams Staff Goes Green for October Staff Days of Service

Posted Oct 19, 2010

Diane Gottschalk was expecting volunteers from Laclede Gas to visit her home in Benton Park on a recent Tuesday morning to prepare it for the upcoming cold months. She had no idea, however, that NFL players would be helping her live more comfortably this winter.

Recently, the Rams celebrated its inaugural Green Week to grow the team’s green platform and bring increased awareness to the importance of environmental sustainability. Since the entire Rams staff participates in a community service activity each month, Green Week provided the staff the perfect opportunities to partner with green-minded companies for its October Staff Day of Service.

Laclede Gas invited Rams staff to partner with their organization for WeatherWise 2010, a program which allowed volunteers to weatherize 40 homes in the St. Louis area. Laclede identified the elderly, underprivileged recipients, and teams of Laclede and Rams’ staff volunteers spread out across St. Louis to prepare homes for the upcoming winter season in an effort to reduce the households’ overall energy use and help save money on gas bills.

“This is a very important part of our overall commitment to giving back to the community,” Laclede Corporate Communications Director Justin Gioia said. “As the weather turns colder, people are going to be thinking about how they can keep their homes warm and comfortable, how they can save on their gas bills. Those who don’t have the means to be able to weatherize their own homes need some assistance, and we’re able to provide that assistance. ”

Gottschalk knew that Laclede had identified her home as one of the 40 they would weatherize, but the crew that arrived was much larger than she expected. Rams defensive end George Selvie and cornerback Bradley Fletcher joined the Laclede and Rams staff volunteers to weatherize her home, wrapping and taping her windows with insulated plastic, caulking her door sweeps and giving her energy conservation information.

“It’s just fantastic, I’m just thrilled to death,” Gottschalk said. “I didn’t know all these people would take their time to come and help people who need help. People who have more opportunities should help people who don’t have as many. It’s unfortunate that some people don’t, but not these guys.”

The partnership between Laclede and the Rams for WeatherWise 2010 was an ideal fit, especially during Green Week.

“Laclede and the Rams are partnering this year on various activities, and this is one of our major activities to really show how both the Rams and Laclede are giving back to the community,” Gioia said.

In addition to weatherizing St. Louis homes, the Rams staff continued its green awareness initiatives by adding a second Staff Day of Service. The following day, staff members worked with Operation Brightside and built an outdoor classroom and planted a learning garden for children at the Hilltop Child Development Center in North St. Louis. Operation Brightside, the region’s oldest and most comprehensive nonprofit cleaning and greening initiative, enriches St. Louis by restoring and growing the community landscape.

Staff members planted various flowers and bushes in the newly designed garden, which will foster an interest in nature and cultivate environmental stewardship in these 2-5 year old inner-city children. In addition to solidifying the children’s relationship with nature, this outdoor classroom will teach children the importance of conserving natural resources.

Operation Brightside is currently a $250,000 finalist in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Pepsi instituted this program to find people, businesses and nonprofit organizations that have ideas that can make a positive impact on their communities. Operation Brightside is campaigning for the Pepsi Refresh grant in an effort to establish a Demonstration Garden and Learning Center to connect urban residents with nature and continue to beautify St. Louis. Rams fans are encouraged to vote for Operation Brightside in the Pepsi Refresh Project by voting online at http://www.refresheverything.com/operationbrightside or via text message by texting “103342” to Pepsi (73774).

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