Imagine having medical bills piled up and one day having all that debt erased. That’s exactly what F.A.I.T.H. is helping to accomplish for residents in Phenix City and Columbus.
F.A.I.T.H. is an acronym for Feeding, Accepting, Inspiring the Hurting It’s a non-profit organization based in Columbus, started in January 2019, that leads the way in helping people in the community who are struggling due to medical bills or other life events. CEO Patricia Gant and her husband James own a State Farm insurance agency in Columbus. Gant started the nonprofit after a horrific car accident she suffered in 2001 that broke her back in two places and took more than two years of recovery.
“As I pondered over my injuries, I thought if I did not have insurance what in the world would I have done,” Gant said. “At that moment, I thought ‘we are God’s hands and feet here on this Earth, and our duty is to help the unfortunate.’ So, after 18 years, the vision became a reality through Christ Jesus and with the help of my mighty team.”
Since its inception, F.A.I.T.H. has grown and now has 16 dedicated team members who help drive its mission. This past year, F.A.I.T.H. has partnered with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based charity, to erase medical debt and to encourage other nonprofits to team up with RIP to help ease the burden for those struggling with medical debts. RIP Medical Debt was founded by two former debt collectors. The organization purchases medical debt in large bundled portfolios using donated funds. One dollar donated to RIP can relieve $100 of medical debt.
Approximately 343 people in Phenix City and 1,074 in Columbus will be seeing their medical debts paid due to the combined efforts of RIP and F.A.I.T.H., the latter having raised $22,000 through fund raisers such has a radiothon with Clear Channel.
Its largest fund raiser, the BELIEVE conference, was to be held at St. Luke’s Ministry on March 21. The conference had planned for Peter Pharros, who portrays ‘David Harrington’ on Tyler Perry’s show The Haves and the Have-Nots, to be its guest speaker. Due to the pandemic and the resulting quarantine, the conference has been moved to the same date but in 2021. Donations have also come from word-of-mouth, social media, and from other organizations. Epworth United Methodist Church in Phenix City donated more than $2,000 from their Heart of Mission fund and Tree of Life Healthcare in Columbus donated $2,500.
“People are drowning in medical debt every day,” Gant said. “F.A.I.T.H. counts it as an honor and privilege to help those in need who are going through this hardship.”
The message of its campaign is “You are cared for and precious in the sight of God.” F.A.I.T.H. doesn’t determine who gets relief and only raises funds. RIP handles everything but the fund raising to raise 10 percent of the total debt. Debt relief for Columbus and Phenix City is being provided after an in-depth analysis performed by the organization determined the area has approximately $2.2 million in outstanding medical debts. More information about RIP Medical Debt can be found at website www.ripmedicaldebt.org. Relief from RIP is random and specific debts cannot be located at this time.
Gant and her team have accomplished a lot in less than a year, but they are not stopping there. They have big plans for the nonprofit.
“One day, F.A.I.T.H. is going to world-wide,” Gant said. “That’s my goal and my faith.”
To learn more about F.A.I.T.H. and how you can help, visit their website at www.faithfeedingaccepting.com.