Too many of our neighbors are drowning in medical debt which cripples their options for moving forward with life long after they've recovered from a health emergency. Medical charges result from the misfortune of sudden illness or injury or a chronic condition, but not by choice. It's not like you can shop around for the best price or choose not to splurge on a medical "purchase" during a health crisis. The weight of this debt can put at risk everything a person or family has - relationships, education opportunities, and housing - increasing fear for the future. If we can help our neighbors by relieving this burden, what a gift it could be - restoring hope and life.
In February, 14 faith-based organizations in Silverton created an Oregon Hope and Healing Campaign event within the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to be used for Oregonians in need, with a goal of raising $15,000. They created a community event and spread the word among each congregation and their networks. Pastor Dorthy shared their efforts with the Grace Foundation and suggested that we participate. The GLCF directors supported this idea wholeheartedly, especially since the assistance was coming back to help our neighbors. The Hope and Healing Campaign met its goal, raising $15,881, and wiped out $1.7 million in medical debt for 3,200 individuals in Oregon. This sounds similar to Jesus' creative math like multiplying loaves to feed the multitudes and forgiving your neighbor 70 times 7.
RIP Medical Debt is a national nonprofit with the mission statement: "Our mission is to end medical debt and be 1 - A source of justice in an unjust healthcare finance system; 2 - A unique solution for patient-centered healthcare providers; and 3 - A moral force for systemic change." Through pooled resources and understanding the debt collections financing systems, they identify those most in need through data analytics and buy debt in bundles at a fraction of the original cost. So, their process multiplies the effect of donations to reduce about 100x the value in debt. To date, they have relieved over $8.5 billion in debt for about 5.5 million families.
This specific Hope and Healing Campaign is closed after meeting its goal, but let's continue to spread the word about this type of opportunity. It's also a wonderful example of
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