Lake Pointe Church in northern Texas is celebrating their 40th anniversary by paying off the debt of people in need.
On September 24, Lake Pointe pastor Josh Howerton told ABC that the church wants to “celebrate our 40th anniversary by passing forward the generosity that has been given to us, to people in our communities.” Their “Pay It Forward” campaign has already made donations to local organizations tackling human trafficking, homelessness and domestic violence.
Now, the church has decided to lift the weight of crippling medical debt from struggling families. Church leaders made the decision after looking through a set of dismal statistics: Particularly, that 66.5% of bankruptcies can be — directly or indirectly — laid at the feat of massive medical bills.
According to the ABC report, the church has sent offers of help to debtors including “U.S. military veterans, those who make less than two times the federal poverty level, people for whom 5% percent or more of their annual income goes to paying medical bills, and people who have greater medical debt than assets.”
In order to do so, Lake Pointe Church collaborated with RIP Medical Debt, an organization that uses donated funds to buy — and consequently forgive — outstanding medical debt. This enabled the church to pay off medical bills for pennies on the dollar.
“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,” Howerton said. “So we were able to eliminate $2.6 million of medical debt for around $27,000.”
RIP Medical Debt has been working with churches for a while now. Notably, Michigan’s “Grand Rapids First” previously aided the charity in doing much the same thing, in order to free nearly 2,000 struggling local families of almost $2 million in unpaid medical bills.