Fayette County

Lighthouse Ministries receives $500,000 gift in mail

Tay Henderson thought the big cardboard envelope that arrived Tuesday with "personal" written all over it was an application or hate mail.

Instead, there was a half-million-dollar check inside.

Henderson, the executive director of Lighthouse Ministries in Lexington, said a donor, who requested anonymity, gave the non-profit organization $500,000.

"To say I went crazy is an understatement," Henderson said.

Lighthouse Ministries provides free meals, vocational training and a faith-based recovery program for men who are released from jail or prison.

Henderson said the donation will allow Lighthouse to start construction on a new 11,000-square-foot building that has been planned since 2008. The new building will be built next door to the existing building on Elm Tree Lane.

It will allow Henderson to expand Lighthouse Ministries' services, she said. She plans to start a recovery program for women, extend the current men's program and increase the number of free meals offered each day.

"We've just been kind of waiting on the money. It showed up yesterday," Henderson said. "It's definitely a great way to bring in 2010."