Churches raise money to anonymously wipe out $5.3 million of medical debt

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CHICAGO — Thousands of local families burdened with medical debt are getting some much-needed relief ahead of the holiday season.

A coalition of local churches worked with the nonprofit group RIP Medical Debt to raise $38,000, which is enough to purchase more than $5 million worth of debt belonging to close to 6,000 struggling families. And clear it all out.

"We were able to raise funds to purchase 5.3 million worth of debt in the city of Chicago and Cook County," said Dr. Otis Moss III, Trinity United Church of Christ.

Parishioners and church leaders celebrated the huge announcement at Trinity United church Sunday. The forgiven debts average $907 dollars a household.

Some struggling South Side families will have some of their prayers answered this Thanksgiving.

"They will receive a very special card before Thanksgiving - completely anonymous, they don't know this is coming - the card will simply say, 'have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We want you to know all your debts have been forgiven,'" Moss said.

The churches say the debt purchase will become an annual effort.

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