BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- There was a lot of extra excitement at a service in Battle Creek Sunday, as Victory Life Church announced it had paid off $3.8 million in medical debts for people in Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Branch and Barry counties.
"Instead of getting a phone call from a collector, they get a letter that just says 'as of today for medical debt has been completely paid for, you owe nothing and No strings attached, a gift from Victory Life Church,'" said Pastor James Sunnock.
The church worked with nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to help cover the costs of 3,500 people who are below the poverty line.
The effort was inspired by a woman named Barbara Kitley, who was told she would need eye surgery or lose her vision completely.
"It was just a burden on me. To know that I could lose my sight, it’s just, I cried a lot about it, it was just so stressful and what am I going to do," said Kitley. "We just didn’t have the money to do it. He says 'I’m going to talk to the pastor.'"
To date, RIP Medical Debt has cleared more than $800 million in debt