Washington church raises enough to erase $30M in medical debt

Spokane Valley, Wash.-based Valley Real Life’s annual holiday fundraiser raised $300,000, which the church told the Spokesman-Review is enough to forgive $30 million in medical debt for qualifying individuals in the Pacific Northwest.

Valley Real Life partnered with nonprofit RIP Medical Debt for the campaign, which launched over Thanksgiving weekend and accepted donations through Jan. 15.

RIP Medical Debt uses donations to purchase and forgive debt portfolios for pennies on the dollar. The nonprofit can transform a $1 donation into $100 of forgiven medical debt on average, according to the Spokesman-Review.

Individuals who qualify to have their medical debt wiped out must have debts greater than their assets, be experiencing financial hardship with out-of-pocket expenses 5 percent or more of their annual income, or earn less than two times the federal poverty level. 

The $300,000 raised by Valley Real Life will be used in RIP Medical Debt's next purchase, which is expected to close in March. Yellow envelopes informing those chosen by the program that their debt has been forgiven will be mailed out in late March or early April, the Spokesman-Review reported.

"To more than double what we did last year in a really difficult season, I think it’s really just reflective of what God is doing in the hearts of people," Steve Allen, Valley Real Life’s outreach pastor, told the Spokesman-Review. “And I think it’s also reflective of what’s happening in the church culture and the community culture of people just wanting to care for one another.”

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