'I’m definitely paying it forward’: Church, nonprofit wipe out $46.5M in medical debt for thousands in Tri-State

Updated: Feb. 24, 2020 at 10:55 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Thousands of families in Cincinnati and across the Tri-State had their medical debt eliminated thanks to a local church.

Crossroads Church worked with a national nonprofit to pay down $46.5 million owed.

The lucky recipients starting receiving letters in the mail over the weekend.

One woman says she threw her letter in the trash but then she dug it out, read it again, and still thought it was a hoax.

“My main thing was just how I got picked. It was random," said the Williamsburg mom who wants to remain anonymous.

“This was nameless and faceless from our standpoint. We just wanted to help people even though we didn’t know who they were and we weren’t choosing," Crossroads Senior Pastor Brian Tome said.

In Ohio, church officials say they abolished $42. 8 million in debt across 41,233 households in 103 zip codes.

But the church went beyond state boundaries, eliminating $1.9 million in debt across 2,974 Kentucky households, $1.5 million across 503 Tennessee households and $200,000 across 136 Indiana households.

Pastor Tome talked about getting involved with the community during Sunday’s sermon.

He mentioned a previous sermon where parishioners were asked to tithe. Tithing is a contribution a parishioner makes to the church. The money gathered is used to support the needs of the church.

Tome challenged parishioners to give to an organization that was not affiliated with Crossroads.

The challenge led to the partnership with a medical debt relief nonprofit called RIP Medical Debt and church members donated $465,000 to the cause.

According to the nonprofit’s website, for every $100 donated, $10,000 in medical debt is wiped out.

“We really like not just being able to help people but be a model for people. We’re here to bless people, not to have huge meetings. So, to be able to have an impact, a huge impact on normal people in Cincinnati, that’s really fulfilling for us," Tome said.

The impact of the debt relief is now causing a ripple effect of goodwill in Cincinnati and beyond.

“I don’t even go to church here, so, I’m definitely paying it forward," the Williamsburg mom said.

RIP Medical Debt says this is the largest amount of medical debt they’ve ever helped retire.

Church officials say those whose medical debt has been retired are currently receiving notices by mail that are enclosed in bright yellow envelopes.

For more information, click here.

Want to know why the church decided to help so many eliminate their medical debt? Watch here:

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