OKEMOS, Mich. (WLNS) — How would you like to wake up one day and have all of your medical debt covered?
That’s exactly what happened with 3,660 Michigan Families after Okemos Community Church sent them a letter, informing them that their medical debt had been paid in full by the church.
The church helped take away a total of $2,217,191.15 in long-term medical debt.
“At OCC serving others is part of our DNA. We strive to put our faith into action so that we make a real difference and impact people’s lives,” said Rev. Rick Blunt, senior pastor. “Families with limited financial resource might be facing daunting medical debt. We decided that was a problem where we can help out.”
The church said it conducted a campaign in the spring of 2021 to help struggling area businesses. The congregation invested approximately $70,000 into these businesses in the Greater Lansing area.
This year, the church is striving to help uplift families and individuals who were immensely impacted by the pandemic.
The congregation began brainstorming ways it could assist people and thought about how health has really taken a toll on American’s in these past few years.
OCC then partnered with another nonprofit to focus on households making less than twice the poverty level or whose medical debt is greater than 5% of the household income.
OCC then raised funds to buy medical debt and forgive it. RIP Medical Debt took the church’s contribution and implemented the debt relief project.
Rev. Blunt says the recipients were anonymous on his end.
“They didn’t ask for it, it came unexpectedly. But was a relief,” Rev. Blunt said.
The church gathered donations during Lent and on Easter Sunday.
“We saw a connection between Easter celebration and unexpected forgiveness of debt. In our faith, at Easter we celebrate receiving the unexpected and unearned forgiveness of God and a chance to begin again. We hope these 3,660 families likewise experienced some unexpected joy and relief, along with a chance to have a new start. Whenever we are blessed by God, we believe we are likewise called to extend blessings to others. In these times. When sometimes it seems all we can do is offer ‘prayers and blessings,’ we wanted to do more. In addition to prayers and blessings, we desired to do something concrete and tangible which would really make a difference.”Rev. Rick Blunt, senior pastor
In the Greater Lansing Area, 118 households had debt cancelled.
Rev. Blunt says the giving won’t stop there, and medicial bills aside, he says helping others is all apart of a bigger purpose.
“It’s just part of how we understand our faith, is that we have to honor God by blessing those who are around us.