A local late night talk show host and comedian is taking on a very serious subject and rallying the Ozarks to join him in changing the lives their neighbors.
Jeff Houghton, host of The Mystery Hour, is heading up the “Great Ozarks Forgive-A-Thon” campaign where his show is partnering with the charity RIP Medical Debt to pay off $2.7 million in medical debt throughout the Ozarks. RIP Medical Debt has the ability to buy medical debt, on average, for one penny on the dollar. That means the show needs to raise $27,000 to pay off the $2.7 million.
“A donation of one dollar is truly multiplied one hundred times. We saw this as an opportunity for the community to come together to have an incredible impact on others in the community,” The Mystery Hour host Jeff Houghton said in a statement. “When I first heard about RIP Medical Debt I was inspired, but then I learned that you can direct your campaign to your immediate area and I knew I needed to start something here in this place that I love that also has great need.”
The money raised will pay off debt for residents of the Ozarks who earn less than two times the federal poverty level or whose debts are more than five percent of their annual income.
“We are proud to partner with The Mystery Hour,” RIP Medical Debt co-founder Craig Antico said in a statement. “The Ozarks has great need when it comes to poverty and medical debt. This will make a life-changing difference for so many in the region.”
Antico was formed in 2014 by Antico and Jerry Ashton, who were both executives in medical debt organizations. Since forming the organizations, they have forgiven over $900 million in medical debt.
“What I love most about it is the personal touch,” said Houghton. “Those that have their debt abolished receive a letter alerting them that this crushing debt has been forgiven. I can’t wait, knowing that later this winter there will be people in the Ozarks who open their mail to that surprise.”
The campaign has raised more than $3,700 since it was announced at last Saturday’s taping of the Mystery Hour show. Donations will be accepted through the end of December. To donate, visit www.themysteryhour.com/forgiveathon.