The Christian Assembly Church in Eagle Rock, Calif., collected more than $5 million to pay off medical debt for over 5,500 poor families in 28 neighborhoods across Los Angeles.
“Because of the generosity of the people at Christian Assembly Church, we are able to give a Christmas gift to the people of Los Angeles, no strings attached,” says co-pastor Tom Hughes of Christian Assembly. He confirmed that “5,555 people … will benefit” from the church’s campaign, and those people “will all be receiving letters in the mail this week.”
The church worked with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization whose website boasts a record of clearing $1 billion in medical bills. The group works by helping charitable organizations “buy” patient debt from medical providers and debt sellers at lower rates — meaning they can purchase debt for less than the actual billed amount.
With the resulting $5 million windfall, the church intends to help low-income families in particular — including 15 households in their own congregation, according to its website.
Hughes saw this action as an example of the church “loving our neighbors far and wide” and a testament to “the generosity of our God.”
Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton, founders of the nonprofit, said in a statement released Dec. 12 that despite the “incredible accomplishment,” they did not believe their work was over.