blackjewel event bsg

Displaced Blackjewel LLC miners and their families gather for a hot dog fundraiser at the Big Stone Gap Visitor Center in late July.

BIG STONE GAP — Hannah Hall knew she had to do something to help her community.

Wednesday, July 31, with the help of Food City and some volunteers, Hall organized the “Meal for a Miner” fundraiser at the Big Stone Gap Visitor Center.

Hall’s fiancé, Tommy, is one of the local Blackjewel LLC miners who were left without a paycheck at the end of June when the company filed for bankruptcy.

“We cashed his check and it bounced three days later,” said Hall. “Our account was overdrawn by $2,200.”

Other families in the region share the same story. “I’ve had people tell me their lights were getting cut off and people were having trouble getting school supplies for their kids,” said Hall.

Hall stated that while Kentucky miners were getting some assistance from the state, miners across the border in Virginia were getting very little help. “We have to help each other,” she said.

At the event, local miners and their immediate families were able to enjoy a hot dog dinner free of charge. Others gave donations for their meals. Brain Freeze and Shug’s Food Truck were also on site and donated a percentage of their proceeds to the miners.

The Department of Social Services and Clinch River Health Services were on site to assist families with signing up for medical services, as the miners’ insurance was scheduled to be cancelled the next day.

Kelli Honaker, whose husband is one of the affected miners, was sharing information with other families about how to fill out claim forms. “They need to do everything they can do to receive their unpaid wages,” said Honaker.

Honaker showed step-by-step how to get onto the bankruptcy court website and file a claim.

Overall, Hall raised $850. She purchased eight backpacks full of school supplies and 11 $50 gift cards. Eleven families were helped altogether.

If you would like information on how you can help, contact Hannah Hall at 276/870-7792.