Michigan church pays off medical debts for nearly 2,000 families

A church in Michigan says it has purchased more than $1.8 million in medical debts to help almost 2,000 families.

Pastor Sam Rijfkogel of Grand Rapids First in Wyoming, Mich., said that the church purchased the debt for “less than a penny on the dollar” through a nonprofit group, ABC News reported Monday

"There are people whose medical debt, they cannot pay. There is no way. It’s looming over their head," Rijfkogel said during a Sunday service. “Most of these folks are in poverty levels or below poverty levels and there’s no way that it can be repaid, but they feel the creditor banging on their doors.”

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"Today, that $1,832,439.26 that’s looming over families right now — those families that are living in poverty rates or less — has been paid in full as a result of a gift from this church," he added, according to ABC.

He said that the debt was paid off by an organization called RIP Medical Debt. With the donation from the church, the group got rid of the medical debt of 1,899 local families, Rijfkogel said. 

The families helped are reportedly from the Michigan counties of Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Ionia. The church said the largest debt was $75,581. 

“They owe us nothing,” Rijfkogel said. “We can be peacemakers. Just as Jesus forgave and canceled the debt of our sins, we also canceled the debt of those in our community.”