Texas church uses donations to pay off $2.6M in medical debt for families – Video

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Recently, a church in Texas has h-it the headlines for using its donations to pay the debt of $2.6 million for 2400 families living in the local region of Dallas and Rockwall countries. Pastor Josh Howerton, from Lake Pointe Church, in an interview with ABC News, said that the project initiative was a part of the “Pay It Forward” campaign of the church.

The campaign was designed to encourage the community members so that they would participate in the kindness act on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the church.

As a part of the anniversary, the church donated $2.6 million to the local non-profit organizations to tackle the problems of the local community such as family vio-lence, human trafficking and homelessness. Pastor Josh Howerton said, “We wanted to celebrate our 40th anniversary by passing forward the generosity that has been given to us, to people in our communities.”

According to the American Journal of Public Health, February 2019 edition, medical problems are the main cause of 66.5% of total bankruptcies in America. Therefore, after analyzing the condition and looking at the statistics the church decided to help such people and support the families which are facing a hard time paying off their medical debts. It was found that approximately 60% of the total bankruptcies in the US are because of medical debts.

They approached the non-profit organization RIP Medical Debt, founded in 2014 and offered their support to the ones who are struggling with financial issues because of medical debts. The organization buys the medical debt at fraction of the total cost using the donation from the church and forgives the debt of the person. The organization also helped the church in identifying the recipients of the help.

Then the church would send letters to the recipients. The possible recipients include the military veterans of the US, those whose income is two times below the federal poverty line and the people who pay more than 5% of their total income in medical bills and the people whose medical bills are more than their assets. Pastor Josh Howerton said, “One of the great things the organization does is that it works with the people who hold those debts to be able to negotiate down the payoffs. So, we were able to eliminate $2.6 millions of medical debt for around $27,000.”

Craig Antico, chief operating officer and co-founder of RIP Medical Debt said that now more than 200 churches have sent their inquiries and 68 churches have raised money to reduce the medical debts, since 2014. Craig said, “We really felt that medical debt was something that was inordinately hur-ting the people that are most vulnerable. The problem is getting worse and worse, and we’re just recognizing that we have a way to stop the hardship of this medical debt.”

The church has 12,000 members which are spread across various medical campuses. Howerton hopes that more people would be inspired by the kind gesture of the church and will do the same. He said, “We want our people to do one act of kindness per day for the next 40 days. So, if you do the math, that’s 40 days’ times 12,000 people and half-a-million needs met. That’s the vision we have for this campaign.”

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