Coal Miners Drive to Survive event held to help laid off coal miners

Debbie Rolen drolen@civitasmedia

December 19, 2013

The Coal Miners Drive to Survive hosted a non-perishable food and toy drive for laid-off miners and truckers Wednesday Dec 18, 2013, at South Side Mall, South Williamson, Ky.

Cheryl Preece, Aleiah Kennedy, Mary Fields and Becca Maynard manned the booth where donations of food and toys were accepted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and items distributed from 3 - 7 p.m. Many people stopped by to donate cash to the cause as well.

Food items left over from the Boone County Friends and Families for Coal event were brought over to this event by Linda Dials.

Laid-off miners who wanted to help brought gently used toys to donate.

“Even though they are laid off, they want to help too. They know what the others are going through and somebody may have it worse than they do,” said Preece.

Anyone making a donation, or out of work miners who brought in or filled out an application for aid, had their name placed in a drawing to win W.Va. Coal Jewelry, which was donated by Carol Damron.

Families in need were asked to bring plastic grocery bags to carry food as well as a photo ID and proof of being laid off, like a lay-off notice or unemployment letter.

Applications for additional assistance with buying groceries, paying rent, utilities or other bills were available for the families to fill out and leave for processing as funds are available.

Event organizers Cheryl Preece and Aleiah Kennedy said there had been a steady stream of families coming by to pick up food and toys for their children.

“The thing most families are saying they need most is food,” said Preece, who went on to talk about how hard it is for families to find help through food pantries because there are so many families in need and some have requirements, such as having an EBT card.

Aleiah Kennedy said the group is already working on future events to try and raise money to help miners. She was also interviewed by a reporter from the Wall Street Journal.

“I was shocked when they called me. They are going to do an article. I just don’t know when it will be. I think it’s amazing to get the attention for our coal miners,” said Kennedy.

For more information, call 304-785-1259 or 304-393-4807 or visit the Facebook page Coal Miners Drive to Survive.