Adapted from the Diocese of Lexington

One of Harlan County’s greatest challenges is the loss of the coal industry. The decline in coal has left hundreds of Harlan County families without income and struggling to pay their bills.

In 2013, Harlan 2020 launched a joint venture with Goose Creek Candle Company to produce “Coal Keeps the Lights On” candles. Rie Whitfield, founding member of Harlan 2020 and Christ Church Harlan parishioner, says last year’s candle sales raised around $26,000. “We helped over 100 families with their electric bills during the winter months,” Whitfield says.

The 2013 project was so successful that Harlan 2020 has brought it back for winter of 2014. The candles are black, an homage to coal. The 26 oz. candles come in three scents: apple bourbon, Christmas tree cutting, and toasty hot toddy. Each scent features original artwork designed by Harlan County artist Bob Howard. All proceeds are paid directly to power companies to be applied to the accounts of approved families.

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