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CAP brings three semi-trucks full of goods for Harlan

Former Blackjewel miners, along with the rest of the community, were able to receive items free of charge at the Harlan Center on Tuesday through Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) and other organizations. Miners were not required to live in Harlan to qualify for the goods but were asked to provide a paycheck stub from Blackjewel and a photo I.D.

CAP partnered with other organizations, such as With Love from Harlan and Hands of Hope, a distribution warehouse in Tennessee, to help distribute items to local families in need. Items included food, toiletries, bottled water and more. Members of the Harlan County High School football team were also present to help load and unload goods.

“When we saw the story on the news about the miners, we wanted to help,” said Ben Ridner, the manager of CAP’s Operation Sharing Program, in a press release. “CAP has been serving people in need in Appalachia for more than 50 years. We realized we had an opportunity to help the miners but also to expand those efforts to help others in the community.”

Ken Sloan, a member of CAP, was present during the distribution of goods and said “like many others, we care about the miners and this community.”

“We put all this stuff together and we enlisted the help of other organizations that supplied us with products and that’s kind of what we done,” Sloan said. “We have teams for the miners from both of our warehouses in Paintsville and Corbin. We also enlisted the help of other CAP people, from housing to our residents to our volunteer program. There’s about 40 of us CAP people here today.”

Sloan added CAP receives a number of products from across the U.S., including items from donors like Feed the Children, World Vision and Operation Compassion.

“They make offers to us and we accept them, then we take them and distribute them,” Sloan said. “We have, between both of our warehouses, around 1,400 organizations that we serve on a monthly basis. We’re involved with all of the Appalachian area.”

Sloan said the organization doesn’t usually see “a lot of this” in regards to the current Blackjewel situation, but “we pulled our crews together to help.”

“We’ve always been, kind of, behind the scenes. But this time, we wanted to pull them out and let them see what a difference they’re making. It’s a learning and a beneficial experience for us, as well. You can’t help everybody, but at least we can give out as much as we got for as long as we can.

“We needed to focus on the miners because they were hit pretty hard, of course, a lot of people were. So we’re helping the miners from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. and then everyone else from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or as long as the products lasts.”

Sloan said With Love from Harlan has signed up with CAP, so the organization will continue to bring goods periodically to continue helping the community and miners. He added CAP would like to continue its partnership with With Love from Harlan and help as much as possible.

According to CAP’s website, the organizations mission is “building hope, transforming lives and sharing Christ’s love through service in Appalachia.”

CAP is based on a number of principles including the following:

• Promote the dignity and self-worth of individuals by promoting self-help;

• Practice and encourage good stewardship of and accountability for all of the resources entrusted to us;

• Foster individual growth among staff, volunteers, donors and program participants;

• Live out and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ through all of our actions;

• Foster open, honest and effective communication both inside and outside the organization;

• Involve the Appalachian people at all social and economic levels in developing a solution to poverty.

Blackjewel miners were also recently notified that the Blackjewel 401k Plan was terminated. Miners are now eligible to receive their account amount now or have the amount placed in a direct rollover to an individual retirement account (IRA) or other qualified plan.

A total of $85 — $60 going to Benefit Plans Services and $25 to American Funds – will be deducted from the account regardless of the path miners choose to take. The fees are charged by service providers to process distribution. Blackjewel does not have any control over the fees or accounts.