It was an incredibly powerful, Christian Easter weekend for neighbors of those near the Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Members of that church decided to help out those in their community by buying the medical debt of those in that community and then writing it off, holding a debt jubilee service for those involved.
A Twitter account called More Perfect Union found the story and posted about it on Twitter, saying, “The members of Trinity Moravian Church in North Carolina purchased nearly $3.3 million of local residents’ medical debt for just $15,048. Then, they held a debt jubilee ceremony and burned up the debt, canceling it all.”
Continuing, the account added, “This amazing effort was accomplished by a partnership between the Debt Jubilee Project and @RIPMedicalDebt. We’ve been following the work of @RIPMedicalDebt as they help folks across the country cancel medical debt for just pennies on the dollar.”
The account also said, “This isn’t the first time the members of Trinity Moravian have canceled their neighbors debts. Last year the group canceled $1.65 million worth of debt for 1,356 people in Forsyth and Davidson counties.”
Watch the debt jubilee video here:
The members of Trinity Moravian Church in North Carolina purchased nearly $3.3 million of local residents’ medical debt for just $15,048.
Then, they held a debt jubilee ceremony and burned up the debt, canceling it all. pic.twitter.com/AntlVKC0o2
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) April 11, 2023
The Dispatch, reporting on the church’s efforts to help people get out of the deep, dark pit of medical debt, said:
More than 3,000 Davidson County residents no longer have to worry about being hassled by debt collectors after a local church recently purchased, and forgave, almost $3 million in their medical bills.
This is the second year the members of Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem have taken on the Debt Jubilee Project, which focuses on paying off the past-due medical bills of residents in the Triad. Last year the group purchased $1.65 million worth of debt for 1,356 people in Forsyth and Davidson counties.
The Rev. John Jackman, pastor of Trinity Moravian Church, said the church wants to help families who were working paycheck-to-paycheck before being driven into poverty by an illness or an accident.
It also quoted Pastor Jackman as saying, “The medical system is so broken. Most of these families were making a go of it until someone has to go into the hospital for a few days or to the doctor for a serious (medical condition). … We can’t fix the system, so this is something we can do.”
RIP Medical Debt is an organization that helps people do just this, Hospitals owed the debt will sell it to third-parties who can then collect it in full, selling the debt for pennies on the dollar because they view it as uncollectible. However, if the person who could collect it decides not to, the debt is forgiven. Describing how that process works, RIP Medical Debt notes:
We use data analytics to pinpoint the debt of those most in need: households that earn less than 4x the federal poverty level (varies by state, family size) or whose debts are 5% or more of annual income.
We buy debt in bundles, millions of dollars at a time at a fraction of the original cost. This means your donation relieves about 100x its value in medical debt.
People across the country receive letters that their debt has been erased. They have no tax consequences or penalties to consider. Just like that, they’re free of medical debt.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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