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Cheng runs for miners’ donations

A Harlan woman began running a total of 50 miles on Thursday to collect donations for families impacted after the Blackjewel mining company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Joyce Cheng, known for her food at Panda Garden, has been a local in Harlan for the past 25 years. When Cheng heard of the recent events, she decided to take matters into her own hands and raise money for the local miners and their families.

Cheng began her run on Thursday at 8 a.m. dressed as a miner, complete with a miner’s jacket and headlamp. Cheng was joined by two Harlan County High School track members, Joshua Lee and Cadance Ferguson. Ferguson’s parents also participated in the run.

“I was thinking, you know, I could run. Make my run more worth it when I’m on the road,” Cheng said. “So I’m going to run around and every person I see, every business owner or every single house I see, all I’m asking for is a dollar.”

The other runners supported Cheng in her efforts to help the affected families, not only by running with her, but also helping to collect money.

“We decided to get behind Joyce, you know, as a community too, for the coal miners,” Lee said. “They are such a big impact on our community.”

Cheng and the others ran from business to business and down every street they could to collect as many donations as possible. Their goal was to reach $5,000 by the end of the day.

Cheng announced Friday morning that she only needed $500 more to reach her goal and that she was set up at the Harlan County Courthouse for those wishing to donate.

Other efforts to help miners and their families include:

• Flip Zone Gymnastics will be giving out 10 free spots for a year to anyone affected by the bankruptcy filing. For more information, contact Tierra Sundy on Facebook;

• Hershel Napier and Steve Goodin with Transamerica will be set up at Harlan CAA on Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to answer questions miners may have regarding their 401K (individual/group basis);

• On Wednesday, Lifeguard Ambulance Service with the Harlan Station will be selling hotdog dinners with chips and a dessert for $5 or individual hotdogs for $1 each. All of the proceeds will go toward helping a family impacted by the bankruptcy. Dinners may only be ordered, not purchased the day of. Orders can be picked up or delivered. To purchase a dinner or make a donation, contact any Lifeguard employee;

• Sittin’ Pretty Grooming will be taking dog/cat food donations to help with any family in need. The food can be dropped off at the business’ location in Evarts. For more information, call 606-837-9475;

• On Monday, Missionary of Mercy will be meeting with miners at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Harlan to help with paying utility bills. Miners must bring a valid I.D., paystub and one utility bill. This is a first come, first serve basis;

• Jordan Smith, Harlan native and “The Voice” season nine winner, has created a GoFundMe account to help with families involved in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. For more information, visit www.gofundme.com/blackjewel-bankruptcy-victims;

• The Harlan County Probation and Parole office will be accepting donations of toiletry items to provide to miners affected by the recent events involving Blackjewel. Such items include, but are not limited to, soap/shampoo/shaving cream, toothpaste/toothbrush/floss, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, toilet paper/paper towels, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, hair care products and baby wipes/diapers. Any items being donated can be dropped off at the office on Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office is located at 227 Industrial Park Road, Suite 105, Harlan (next to Southern Wholesale). This is drop-off only;

• With Love from Harlan is accepting any and all donations. Check and cash donations can be dropped off at Harlan CAA, located at 319 Camden Street, Harlan, or mailed to With Love from Harlan at P.O. Box 1621, Harlan, KY 40831. Donations can also be dropped off at Home Federal Bank, under With Love from Harlan Coal Miners Relief Fund;

• Harlan CAA is collecting donations for the miners and their families as well. You can drop off check or cash donations to April Vargas Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;

• Calvary Baptist Church in Loyall will continue to collect food donations to stock their food pantry for anyone in need;

• Harlan Vapors is still taking $1 from each purchase until Sunday to divide among affected families. They are also accepting donations.