Press Releases

HARLAN, Ky. — U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers joined state and local leaders today in Harlan County to break ground on a new gymnasium and commercial kitchen at the Cawood Ledford Boys and Girls Club. The club serves approximately 2,500 Harlan County children every year.

“This club is a refuge, a center of hope, for the children of Harlan County who need a place to run off some energy, get a good meal, get help with homework, and find a mentor that will guide them through tough days,” said Congressman Rogers. “During the pandemic, they not only cooked meals for 100 kids a day out of a small break-room style kitchen, but they hand delivered them - driving countless miles across this mountainous county to make sure these students were fed and continued getting the help they needed with online school. This new commercial kitchen will make a world of difference to the staff who consider those meals a labor of love.”

The club has raised more than $500,000 through private donations to build the new gym and kitchen. They hope to raise more money to add a new outdoor playground for the students.

"We are always doing whatever it takes for the youth of Harlan County and we have been fortunate to do a great deal with a small facility. We have had to make sacrifices, however. During the pandemic, we served over 125,000 meals to children in our county. But in order to do this, we had to turn our art room into a feeding area and meal prep room. We've had to make a lot of choices up until now about what were our kids most pressing needs," said Kateena Haynes, CEO of the club. "This gymnasium and kitchen will eliminate those choices and open up a world of opportunities for the Club and for the youth of Harlan County. Our kids will have a place to play, rain or shine, and they will have a large fully stocked kitchen and an area where they can sit down together and enjoy a meal every day. We will also be able to serve the county by having a venue for parties, sports leagues, and other events. It will be a blessing to our entire community."

Throughout the school year, the club serves up to 100 local students every day after school and around 50 children a day during the summer months. During the pandemic, the club offered online programming, wellness checks and at-home food delivery.

"I am very excited to be able to run and play in the new gym. The Boys & Girls Club is a place where everyone is welcome and there is always something to do. The staff at the Club really care how I am doing and they make me feel important," said Sarah Adams, a 13-year-old club member.

"I'm so excited for us to have a big, new kitchen. I love the food at the Boys & Girls Club, like corndogs and pizza. When we get a nice new kitchen we can have sausage links and biscuits and jelly and we will be able to eat with our friends," said Kyrie Calhoun, an 8-year-old club member.

Construction for the new facility is scheduled to begin in September.

“Where we are standing and sitting today, is much more than an empty lot. It will be much more than a gymnasium and a kitchen. This is a place where lives will be transformed,” said Dan Mosley, Harlan County Judge Executive. “This is a place where dreams will be made and dreams will come true. This is a place where God’s love will be shared and hope will be given to the kids that need it the most. This is a place where friendships that will last a lifetime will be developed. This is a place where hungry kids will come and get the nutrition they need to continue to reach for their goals but they will leave with much more than a full stomach. This will be a place that will keep our youth engaged in the positive atmosphere they need so much that will set them up for success in the next chapter of their lives! This is an investment into the most important people in our community, our kids, our future. We are grateful to everyone who made this vision possible.”

For more information about Congressman Rogers' work in Washington and at home in Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District, visit  and follow him on  social media . 

BGC Ground Breaking
Rogers Speaking
Congressman Rogers Speaks at Ground Breaking Ceremony
BGC Design
Rendering of the new gymnasium