HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — While out-of-work Harlan County miners protest for their earned paychecks, people across the state, even the region, are showing support and providing help.
But there are plenty of folks in their home county stepping up too.
"Take what you need. Leave what you can. Above all be blessed."
That's the motto of "With Love From Harlan." The organization strives to make sure no one is going hungry in the county.
But that task just became a whole lot more difficult after miners employed by Blackjewel were let go last month, and their final paychecks bounced.
This hits home for the group's co-founder Ashley Bledsoe. She's the daughter of a coal miner, and knows all to well what its like to be without a hot meal.
"I can remember being a kid, and you know we would hit some rough times. Sometimes the only hot food I would get was when I was at school. So just to be able to know that someone can come, and they can gather miscellaneous items and they can make a meal out of them. It may not be the meal they want, but at least their belly would be fed. That just warms my heart," said Bledsoe.
It isn't just these blessing boxes that are supplying meals for coal miners. "With Love From Harlan" has also partnered with organizations to give miners gift cards for free gas and food.
But they say its not too big of a gesture for the men who've built this county
"Mining built Harlan County. So for people to treat them like they are nothing, is just, it really makes everybody hurt. Because everybody who is originally from Harlan County knows that mining is what built this community. This entire community was built on coal mining," said Bledsoe.