A rural community at the base of Pine Mountain in Eastern Kentucky, Jenkins has one of highest poverty rates in the state. Letcher County, where Jenkins is located, was once a prominent coal mining area, providing over 24,000 jobs for the local population. Today, the number of coal-related jobs has dwindled to about 100. Jenkin’s population, currently just over 2,000, has steadily decreased and poverty is widespread. According to 2017 data, in Jenkins:
- 51% of families have an annual income under $25,000.
- Almost 40% of individuals live below the poverty line.
- More than 2/3 of children qualify for federal free or reduced lunches.
Family-to-Family’s Jenkins community partner is Angela Gibson, the Family Resource and Youth Service Center liaison for the Jenkins Independent School District. Angela identifies families in need for our program and distributes monthly groceries to the families. The Whitesburg Walmart provides groceries for our sponsored families.
Sponsored families in Jenkins and nearby McRoberts have also been recipients of Family-to-Family’s Victory Garden program. Since 2010, about 20 families have received donated gardening equipment and seeds for growing beds of vegetables and fruit, often along with egg-laying chickens. We also provided supplies for a large community vegetable garden on the Jenkins elementary school grounds, which is used both as a teaching opportunity (the kids learn to compost as well!) and to provide vegetables for the whole community.
Jenkins Independent School
269 Highway 3086
Jenkins, Kentucky 41537
For more information about Jenkins:
- Blackey is richest, Jenkins is poorest, census survey says
- Moving Mountains, the battle for justice comes to the coal fields of Appalachia
- A View From Appalachia: Living Below the Poverty Line
- As Jobs Disappear in Coal Country, A Giant Prison is Pitched as the Solution
Data Source: 2017 US Census Community Survey
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