It has been over a month since more than a thousand miners’ lives were disrupted when their former employer, Blackjewel LLC, declared bankruptcy. As soon as the bankruptcy was declared, the Blackjewel mines were immediately shutdown and paychecks began to bounce. Overnight, the miners not only lost their jobs, but many of them woke up to overdrawn bank accounts. As frustrations with the company quickly grew, miners in Harlan, KY staged a strike that blocked the coal trains from leaving in protest of not being paid. As people seek resolutions, many of the Blackjewel miners have been struggling to take care of themselves and meet their family’s needs.
As this crisis continues, several Fahe’s Members have taken steps to ensure people affected by the bankruptcy in their service areas have access to essentials. Appalachian Community Action & Development Agency, Inc. (AppCAA), Christian Appalachian Project (CAP), People Inc.. , and Redbud Financial Alternatives (a division of Fahe Member Housing Development Alliance) are all using their resources to offer assistance to those who have been affected.
In order to aid the coal miners and their families, AppCAA, based in Gate City, VA, has been collecting monetary donations, non-perishable food, diapers, school supplies, and toiletries. All of the donations collected will go directly those affected in south west region of Virginia.
CAP, based in Paintsville, KY, has joined forces with other local organizations to collect donations. In order to help ease the some of the burden the miners are facing, and ensure they have the day-to-day essentials, CAP will be delivering several tractor-trailers full of food, paper goods, and household supplies to the Harlan Convention Center.
People Inc., based in Abingdon, VA, is offering financial assistance to Blackjewel Coal employees who were let go and live in Buchanan County, VA. Miners who meet those qualifications are able to apply at the Buchanan County Government Center on select days in August. To help ease the application process, People Incorporated and county staff will be available to help those seeking assistance.
Redbud, based in Hazard, KY, has also provided their services in order to relieve some of the financial stress the miners are enduring. Between Fahe’s financial backing of $30,000, and donations from other funders, Redbud has been able to create a sizeable loan fund and has already issued approximately $40,000 in low-interest rate loans to 10 Blackjewel miners. In order to make the borrowing process easier, for the first three months, these loans will not require payments or accrue any interest.
With Appalachia facing some of the highest poverty rates in the nation, the hardships some families are already facing only become more intense as their paychecks begin to bounce. The work that Fahe’s Network participates in supports local leaders and communities with resources, capacity, and expertise in addition to providing relief support in emergency situations. Fahe is beyond proud to have these Members as a part of our network. Not only are they calling attention to the problems people in these communities are facing, they are also rallying around those in need and actively looking for solutions.
To stay up to date with these Members, and to see the other ways they’re serving Appalachia, follow the links below:
People inc.: http://www.peopleinc.net/index.html