Lead Pastor John Hull and Eastside Baptist Church began a giving initiative in March prior to the COVID-19 shutdown to help families pay off medical debt. EBC/Special
MARIETTA — Even before COVID-19 brought many Americans financial stress, Lead Pastor John Hull was leading Eastside Baptist Church members to help others in paying off medical debt.
“When we, as the local church, see a need, we need to step forward and meet it,” said Hull, who has served as pastor since December 2015. “I am honored to serve a church like Eastside that eagerly looks for ways, just like this, to care for and serve our Cobb County community.”
An initial goal of $15,000 set by the congregation in early March eventually steamed ahead to $17,000. By partnering with the nonprofit organization RIP Medical Debt, an average of one dollar given went toward paying off $100 in medical debt for individuals whose bills have gone through collection agencies for months and years.
RIP Medical Debt has sent out yellow envelopes to inform recipients of their canceled debt in cities across the Metro Atlanta area including Marietta, Atlanta, Smyrna, Austell, Mableton, Kennesaw, and Acworth. In Marietta alone, $1.25 million in medical debt will disappear for 575 families. Altogether, more than $2.9 million in medical debt is being cleared for 1,516 families.
Hull was not surprised at the church’s generosity.
“We want the community to know that God loves them, we love them, and that we are here for them. God sees them, and their needs are important to us. To be able to take such a burden off of the shoulders of our neighbors living below the poverty level was a no-brainer.”