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Church pays $1.6 million in medical debt for their community

More than 1,300 people are getting a letter saying their debt has been completely paid, with no strings attached "because Access Church loves you."

LAKELAND, Fla. — If you've ever been impacted by medical bills or an unexpected injury you know how hard it can be to handle the weight of all that debt.

Access Church wanted to lift that weight for their community just in time for the holidays.

"1,315 people are getting a letter saying your debt has been completely paid, no strings attached because Access Church loves you," Lead Pastor Jason Burns said.

The church started as an in-home bible study between friends. Ten years later, it has transformed into a place thousands call home.

"Our church is made up of the most generous people you'll ever meet. I mean just kind they serve other people and they're encouraging in a world that's full of cynicism," Burns said. 

The house of worship is stepping up to help eliminate the city's $3 million of deferred medical debt. 

"I think everyone was all for it! We were like 'man, this is amazing to be able to help people in this way,'" Youth Pastor Isaiah Board said.

The people they're helping are living less at less than half of the federal poverty line. Access Church knows just how crippling medical debt can be. They're hoping their contribution will help just in time for the holidays. 

"We do a ton of random acts of kindness, but this wasn't. This was an intentional act of kindness to show God's love," Board said.

Recently, it's become a trend for churches to help pay off medical debts. There's a site that helps partner churches with those who could use the help. RIP Medical said that donating a dollar is the equivalent to paying off $100 of medical bills. 

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