CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Millions of dollars in medical debt was paid off by complete strangers in the Charlotte area.
One local church decided to do that to spread hope while we all battle against coronavirus.
The checks have landed in people’s accounts, and WBTV is getting to meet some of the people who randomly woke up to find their medical debt all “paid in full.”
One single mom said she’s been struggling to make ends meet in this coronavirus pandemic, but opening a letter like that changed her family’s life.
“As a single mom, you know, it is hard to earn," said Ashley Patel. “At the same time, you know, I’m always about paying it forward and giving what I can.”
Patel prioritizes giving to others in her everyday life but has been extra stressed to make ends meet for her young daughter Bella since the coronavirus pandemic swept through the Charlotte area.
One day, she went to make a payment on her medical debt from an emergency room visit, only to find a $0.00 balance from the hospital.
“And when I told them, you know, that’s incorrect, they ended up telling me you know, it was paid off and so when I open up my mail afterward realizing it, you know, I mean, I was in tears,” said Patel.
But who would pay off all of her hospital debts in full, especially during a time of a global health crisis?
“Usually you know, you don’t get anything paid off or you know you don’t have someone to donate anything to you especially when it comes to medical and so it changed my life know that bill had cleared all for the zero balance," said Patel.
Patel wasn’t the only one who woke up to letters that read paid in full... $2 million worth of medical debts were just paid off for strangers by Freedom House Church in Charlotte.
"How can we be light when it feels like it’s dark?” said Penny Maxwell, a senior pastor at Freedom House Church.
Freedom House Church wanted to do something for the community so they dedicated some of the congregation’s offerings to pay off $2 million in debt for strangers in the community.
They don’t know Ashley, Bella, or any of the others who received “paid in full” letters in the mail.
"The calling of the church, overall, even before pandemics and issues is to reach their community to be what’s called a storehouse where people can come and get what they need,” said Troy Maxwell, senior pastor at Freedom House Church.
“Right now is the biggest time the biggest opportunity as the church just to rise up and be what we’re supposed to be, which is a light on a hill, a city on a hill that is helping when things look dark,” said Penny. “Those people right now, we want them to focus on being able to feed their family, to be able to pay their mortgage or their rent and not worrying about the debt collector calling for those hospital bills that they can’t pay right now.”
“Especially with the ways with a virus and everything going on right now, it all helped out tremendously.”
And the generosity has multiplied, because Ashley was then able to take the money she was going to use to pay off her bill to go back to what she loves, giving, paying it forward.
“When I received it, of course, you know, It was just a miracle. So of course, I turned around and blessed you know, 10 other ladies,” said Patel.