McCreary County – Good Shepherd Mission Chapel
McCreary County is located in Appalachia in Southern Kentucky 10 miles north of the Tennessee border, in the Cumberland Lake area; and is south of Somerset, Kentucky. McCreary County is the poorest county in the United States according to the IRS. Many of the men are former coal miners and had little education. The coal mines were closed many years ago leaving no means of financial support. Some were able to find odd jobs to do and make mountain crafts to support their families.
Good Shepherd Mission Chapel, a Mission of St. Mildred’s Church in Somerset, is located in Whitley City, and was started by the Good Shepherd Sisters from Connecticut who converted an automobile repair garage into their residence, a second-hand clothing shop, and space for an attached Chapel to serve the people who live in the county. They offered a pre-school program working with young children and moms during the year, Vacation Bible School programs during July, help with financial assistance, clothing, food, and many other projects. About 8 years ago the sisters were called back to Connecticut due to health and age concerns, but many people from their Parish have stepped up to continue what the sisters had started. There is now a Christian Care Center, Food Pantry, Medical facility, and a home build program. Men from the St. Ignatius Men’s group have helped with the home build program during the summer.
Parishioners from St. Ignatius became involved with those in McCreary County in 2005 and have been able to help through our Lenten Cart Sunday collection of toiletries, personal care and cleaning items; Christmas in July collection of food, etc., and through our PSR and school’s toy collection in November to provide new toys and gifts for approximately 300-400 children at their Christmas Party in December.
Volunteers are always needed to help sort the collections on the weekend and drivers are needed the Saturday after each collection to drive to McCreary County to deliver the donations. To become involved or for more information, contact Pat LaMonte, email@example.com.