COLUMBUS, Ga. — Jerry's Mart convenient store is often referred to as "the lucky store," Manager Junior Patel said.
The walls are plastered with winning tickets, the highest totaling $750,000 and soon another will be added. One lucky person picked up a $3 Lemon Doubler Cashword ticket and was fortunate enough to scratch off $80,000 what they did next was even more unbelievable.
The unknown winner placed the winning ticket in the collection plate at Cathedral of Prayer Church in Columbus, donating every penny of the cash earnings to the church.
"The money is going towards the church and we have to supply the food for the neighborhood, the clothing, everything costs and we give this stuff away free," says Alfonzo Riggins.
Riggins has been attending cathedral of prayer church for the past 15 years, He also handles security for the pastor and first lady of the church.
He says he has already received criticisms from people in the community about the church accepting the money.
"God said a blessing is a blessing you know, no one at the church played the lottery so it had to be an outsider that came in and did this," Riggins said.
Gloria Rodgers, chief financial officer of Cathedral of Prayer, spoke on behalf of the church, claiming the prize Aug. 26 at the Georgia Lottery's Columbus District Office.
"It's an excellent thing," she said. "People in the community have come by and put lottery winnings in the offering through the years."
The $80,000 prize is by far the largest they've received.
"When we saw this, we didn't know," Rodgers added.
According to Rodgers, burglars stripped the air conditioning unit of its copper three weeks ago, leaving the edifice without cool air. The anonymous donation will go toward fixing the unit.
"Everybody is just thrilled," she said. "We're thankful."
Church members leaving Bible study had no idea about the huge donation their church had gotten but agreed that it was in fact a gift from above.
"Everything comes from God, everything is a blessing however we received it, and it's a blessing I'm not telling anybody to go out and gamble but however God gave it to you then receives it as that," Riggins said. "I haven't found out yet and I'm not going to ask that question unless it's given to me as a direct order to figure out where it came from."
For now this church's $80,000 blessing will for now remain a mystery.