By Jennifer Johnson
Since the mid-1990s, Lighthouse Ministries has been helping the poor, the addicted, and the hungry of Lexington, KY, with food, recovery programs, and other outreach efforts. At the Nehemiah House, men can participate in Bible study, anger management classes, GED preparation, and counseling as well as receive help with their substance abuse issues. Families receive support and resources for the recovery process.
Lighthouse’s “Dining with Dignity” program also serves hot meals to thousands—more than 40,000 lunches in 2015 alone. Last year the ministry bought a second building, allowing the Lighthouse team to serve almost 200 people at a time instead of feeding 50 in multiple shifts. It now serves dinner four nights a week as well as daily lunches, and by the end of this year it plans to serve dinner every night. And it all happens at the new Wayne and Marge Smith Dining Hall.
“Our development director, Greg Horn, had worked with Wayne at Southland Christian Church and suggested we name our new dining hall after him,” says Valerie “Tay” Henderson, Lighthouse’s executive director. “I had read Wayne’s autobiography years before and knew how much his late wife, Marge, had contributed to his ministry behind the scenes. I resonated with this because I took over Lighthouse a few years ago after my husband, Dan, died. So when Greg said, ‘Wayne,” I said, ‘and Marge.’”
They worked with Wayne’s family to surprise him; Henderson says Wayne attended the new dining hall’s grand opening in January and was touched by the gesture and by the inclusion of Marge in the honor. In addition to naming the space after the Smiths, the dining hall features a large portrait of them.
“He’s helped so many people,” Henderson says. “He visited our offices once and started writing us a check, and I hadn’t even asked him for money! I know Marge was in the background holding things together so he could do what he did. I’m so glad we could honor both of them.”