Florida church eliminates $7.2M in medical debt burdening 6,500 families

by Samuel Smith/CP, |
Pastor Dan Glenn speaks at Stetson Baptist Church in DeLand, Florida on July 7, 2019. | Stetson Baptist Church

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A Southern Baptist church in Florida will pay off over $7.2 million in crippling medical debt impacting over 6,500 individuals and families living at or below the poverty line in five Florida counties. Additionally, the church will also fund three foster homes for the next year.

Senior Pastor Dan Glenn of Stetson Baptist Church in DeLand announced to his congregation during a July 7 service that the church of about 1,000 members raised over $153,867 as part of its "53rd Sunday" initiative that will be split between two separate causes.

Since the church's fiscal calendar ends in June and begins in July, Glenn told The Christian Post in an interview that the church's calendar in 2018-2019 was blessed with 53 Sundays instead of the budgeted 52 Sundays like most calendar years.

With that extra Sunday service, Glenn said that the church's council voted to approve a plan to collect offerings during its Sunday, June 30th service for the express purpose of giving that money away.

In early June, the congregation was told about the initiative and that the church would split its June 30 offerings

Half would go to an organization called RIP Medical Debt in order to pay off medical debt for people in poverty living in the church's home county of Volusia.

The other half of that money would be donated to Florida Baptist Children's Homes to support a foster care home for an entire year with funding to pay for things like diapers, groceries and utilities.

As medical debt is one of the leading causes of financial difficulties for thousands of families across the U.S., RIP Medical Debt works with organizations and donors to buy up the medical debt of impoverished families for just pennies on the dollar. And in return, the organization forgives the person or family of their debt giving them a reprieve from the financial burden.

What happened, Glenn said, was that the church's initial goal of raising $48,000 combined for both programs was vastly exceeded.

He said enough money was raised to not only pay off medical debt for impoverished people in Volusia County but also those in neighboring Lake, Putnam, Marion and Flagler counties as well.

And while the church planned to support just one foster care home for a year, enough funds were raised to support three foster care homes for a year.

"This was something that really struck a chord with our church," Glenn told CP. "Medical debt is something that I think everyone can get behind. But our church is unique in that we have an undercurrent in our church of fostering and adoption, both from the perspective of families that have fostered kids and adopted children but also through adults who were foster children or adoptees."

Read more from, "Florida church eliminates $7.2M in medical debt burdening 6,500 families," on The Christian Post.

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