LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Thanks to donations by the members of Lawton First Assembly Church, more than 1,600 Southwest Oklahoman families will soon receive a life changing letter in the mail.
1.6 million dollars in Medical Debt is in the process of being wiped clean from families living in 13 Southwest Oklahoma counties.
While 1.6 million in Medical Debt is being paid off, Senior Pastor Don Barnes said it’s not exactly a one to one swap donation wise, and R.I.P Medical Debt, a non profit in New York guarantees two zeros will be added to every dollar donated.
“The people got so excited because they said you mean, my ten dollar is gift is actually a thousand, or my hundred is actually ten thousand. I just presented it on a Sunday morning as a random act of kindness," said Senior Pastor Barnes.
In less than 30 days, the $15,000 was collected, but the church’s associate pastor said during that time, the staff also learned a lot about debt issues in Oklahoma.
“One of the statistics I ran across is that 66 percent of bankruptcy is attributed to medical debt, and that was a shocking number to me,” said Associate Pastor Gary Pratt.
A local Debt Relief Agency said those figures match the problem in Comanche County.
“Two thirds of all my clients debts overall include medical bills," said John Windham, President of The Debt Clinic.
With more than 1,600 families receiving this money... Pratt said it’s likely members of the church who participated in the donations could also be wishing for financial help themselves.
“I’m sure they have debts too, but that’s what really shocked, was that they were more than willing to just say this is great, lets be part of this,” said Pratt.
Even more than the actual donations... both pastors said the best part is that the members made their contributions knowing they will never know who they helped.
“We may never know who they are, because they can’t tell us because of privacy laws, but people started giving, and lots of people gave,” said Barnes.
“This was an opportunity for people to say hey we are just going to give, and we may never know who this helps, we may never receive one card, but that’s not why we do this," said Pratt.
Pastor Barnes said R.I.P Medical Debt was responsible for choosing what families received the money, and the decisions were based on who was in the most pressing situation.
Again, the letters were all sent out by now... so be on the lookout for letters from R.I.P Medical Debt... and inside will be a special message from the members of Lawton First Assembly wiping your medical debt clean.