Now, families within six states who have been “held hostage” by their expenses will be cleared of their debt thanks to the combined efforts of Valley Real Life and RIP Medical Debt, the church’s outreach pastor Steve Allen told Fox News.
The church had come up with the idea nearly a year ago, even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Each year, the church holds its “Joy to the World” holiday fundraiser wherein 100% of the proceeds go “outside the walls of Valley Real Life to make a difference in the community and the world.” This meant donating to various nonprofits focused on a range of issues from education to poverty.
This year, it focused on making a difference for those struggling to overcome their medical debt.
For a span of more than a month, Valley Real Life had hoped to raise at least $200,000 to give to RIP Medical Debt, which is a New York-based nonprofit that buys up and forgives debt for individuals, families and veterans across America.
For every dollar donated, the organization would pay off $100 in medical debt, Allen said.
Not only did they surpass their goal, but they are continually receiving donations, in some cases, from individuals who have had their medical bills paid off and are looking to pay it forward.
“We have seen that due to the burden of medical debt people have been unable to take a next step in their lives due to poor credit scores, financial crisis, and unpaid bills,” Allen said. “And those things have paralyzed thousands of families across our region.”
The nonprofit now stands to pay off about $30 million in debt for residents within Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montanna, Northern California and Utah, Allen said, citing projections from RIP Medical Debt.
The families will be notified by letter, according to Allen.
“The reach that just one church can have has blown me away, Allen said.