Making good on his vow, the nation’s latest and biggest-ever Powerball lottery multimillionaire, Andrew “Jack” Whittaker, has started the process of handing over 10 percent of his total winnings — a record $315 million before taxes — to his church, PEOPLE reports.
The folksy and deeply religious Whittaker, 55, who owns a West Virginia construction company, said when he was named winner on Dec. 26 that his intention was to help the three pastors who had been there to help his family throughout his life.
So, this past Sunday, Whittaker turned to his current pastor, the Rev. C.T. Mathews of the Tabernacle of Praise in Hurricane, W.Va. (pop. 5,200), and said he was prepared to write a check for $834,000. The rest of the money, he said, will come once he gets it from the lottery commission on Jan. 14. That will be more that $5 million.
Talk about a morning offering.
As he handed over the check, Whittaker, surrounded by reporters and fellow church members, said, “You can never give more than you get.” He then added, “I’m a loner-type guy … We don’t entertain a lot, but the church has always been important to our lives. We’ve been very blessed.”
Besides helping the pastors and his church, “My first priority is West Virginia,” said Whittaker who has already fielded thousands of phone calls from people asking for help.
“It’s poor, a very impoverished state. There’s a tremendous amount of people here who work all the time just trying to survive each month,” he said. “We want to help some people here to better themselves. If someone wants to get a car to drive to a better job, we want to look into making their life better.”