Donations by First Baptist Church of Marble Falls will help 713 residents wipe out $1.5 million in medical debt. Working with RIP Medical Debt Relief, an organization that helps strangers pay off medical bills for medications, ambulances, hospital stays, and more, the church discovered a little bit goes a long way. According to the nonprofit’s website, every $1 donated forgives $100 in debt.
The program works by using funds to buy up large bundles of medical debt and forgiving them. To date, the organization has abolished over $2 billion in medical debt, helping 650,000 families.
Many debts paid for through the bundling program are years old.
“We have a heart for our community, and we want to help everyone in our community to grow,” said Norman Flowers, the church’s pastor of Missions and Discipleship. “We want our community to do better, and one of the biggest burdens in a person’s life is debt. Medical debt is overwhelming sometimes, so if we can help with that, it could be huge.”
Donors can’t target specific people when buying up bundles of debt, but they can localize it to the county-level. First Baptist Church targeted residents in Burnet, Llano, Travis, and other nearby counties.
“In Proverbs 22, the Bible teaches that debt makes people feel like slaves,” said the Rev. Ross Chandler of First Baptist Church in a media release. “In many ways this is more than just a feeling. Debt traps people, and so for many people this entrapment is almost impossible to escape when it comes to healthcare. There is no greater debt in America than medical debt.”