Ky priest donates to miners affected by Blackjewel bankruptcy

After filing for bankruptcy, Blackjewel LLC shut down the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr coal mines near Gillette, Wyo. (MGN)

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) - A priest in Kentucky has given more than $20,000 to miners who are struggling to pay bills after the coal company they work for has filed for bankruptcy protection.

News outlets report people crowded Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Harlan on Monday as Father Jim Sichko signed checks for more than 100 miners who are currently out of work.

Blackjewel LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection July 1 and said it needed about $6 million to pay employees .

Diocese of Lexington Director of Catholic Charities Ginny Vicini says Sichko raised the money on his own. Sichko says he felt compelled to help the miners because he's the grandson of a Pennsylvania coal miner.

Blackjewel and its subsidiaries employ about 1,700 people in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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