ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) will launch a nationwide project with its chapters this fall to provide heating assistance to the elderly and disadvantaged.

The first annual "Heat the Country" program will take place Saturday, October 23, 2004. Working with local organizations such as People Helping People, the Housing Department, or Meals on Wheels, the ACCA chapters will collect a list of poor or elderly homeowners who need their heating equipment serviced. Then, on the day of the project, volunteer contractor employees will be matched with a needy homeowner and sent off to do the job.

"Contractors are community-based businesses in the best possible sense of the word," said Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA's president and CEO. "Heat the Country is one more way contractors can give back to the communities where they belong, and demonstrate just how essential their services are."

"Heat the Country" is based on a local program ACCA's North Texas chapter has sponsored for over 13 years called "Heat the Town." This year, chapters including Abilene, Akron/Canton, Austin, California, Central Indiana, Central Maryland, Central Ohio, Greater Cincinnati, Greater Houston, Kansas City, Michigan, National Capital, New England, Northern Illinois, Green Country, San Antonio, South Plains, Texas, and Waco plan to join North Texas in the "Heat the Country" program.

For more information, contact Beth Queen at 703-824-8859 or

Publication date: 07/05/2004