Over 45,000 families from the Greater Cincinnati Tri-State Area and beyond were surprised with a gift from a local church — the unexpected news that their outstanding medical debt had been paid.
Crossroads Church, a large, multi-campus church based in Cincinnati, partnered with the nonprofit organization RIP Medical Debt to pay off an astounding $46.5 million in medical debt for families in the community, WXIX-TV reported.
RIP Medical Debt, which purchases bundled debt from hospitals for mere pennies on the dollar, has gained considerable and positive exposure in recent years.
Anyone can donate to the organization, which has eliminated over $1 billion in medical debt to date, according to the non-profit’s website.
The NY-based nonprofit who worked with the church says it’s the largest amount of medical debt they’ve ever retired. https://t.co/zWHpeXOd09
— FOX19 NOW (@FOX19) February 24, 2020
Crossroads Senior Pastor Brian Tome told WXIX that church members donated $465,000 to RIP Medical Debt, which translated into $46.5 million paid off for people living in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana.
“Churches are at our best when we are a blessing to real people in our communities,” Tome said. “We’re not here to just have big Sunday meetings.”
Just talked with one of the lucky people whose debt was paid off. Here’s the letter she received this weekend. She tells me she forgot about the debt owed. She’s thankful and now plans to pay it forward. ❤️ @FOX19 @crdschurch pic.twitter.com/4ErGG531Sf
— Lauren Artino (@FOX19Lauren) February 24, 2020
Debt was wiped out for 41,233 households in Ohio for $42.8 million, 2,974 Kentucky households for $1.9 million, 503 Tennessee households for $1.5 million, and 136 Indiana households for $200,000.
During a Nov. 23 sermon, Tome told his congregation about the “opportunity to multiply our impact.”
“They’ll get a letter that says, ‘Congratulations, your debt has been paid because someone loves you and there is a God that has not forgotten about you,'” he explained.
The yellow envelope recipients will receive in the mail explains that their medical debt has been paid, and includes information on how RIP Medical debt works, assuring recipients there are no strings attached.
On Sunday, Tome read a short note written by one of the recipients, who remain anonymous to the church unless they choose to identify themselves.
“I received this piece of mail in this bright yellow envelope and started to throw it away,” the recipient wrote. “But when I saw that it said, ‘Your medical debt has been paid,’ I thought, ‘Seriously? Wait a minute.'”
“When I read it I got emotional because I have been so needing a break with getting my credit together. I really appreciate the gift.”
Tome explained the unearned and unmerited gift of debt payment mirrors the unearned and unmerited gift offered to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ.
“This is actually the message of Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ pays our spiritual debt,” Tome said.
RIP Medical Debt told WXIX that the Crossroads donation is currently the largest amount of debt that has ever been retired.
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