Jackson church pays off more than $1.4 million in medical debt for Mississippians

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 9:29 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - One Jackson church is canceling the medical debt for the poor and uninsured. The Word Center’s debt cancellation initiative has assisted men, women and children in need across the state.

In fact, in just four months the church cleared more than $1.4 million dollars of debt for Mississippians.

“I believe God’s love should reach everyone. So, giving is the essential focus of Christianity.”

Four months ago, Pastor Richardson and his congregation began the medical debt forgiveness initiative.

With the state not expanding Medicaid to help provide health insurance to nearly 130,000 Mississippians, the church stepped in to help close that gap.

“When you look at it from an historical point of view, the church has always been on the forefront prior to the civil rights movement and we have always been the hub to help the community. We have never been an entity that relied solely upon the government.”

They called on the New York-based nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to find total strangers with medical bills piling up and pay them off. The recipients of this blessing then received a letter with the good news.

“The way we find individuals is basically we purchase medical debt from the secondary debt market, like a debt collector or debt buyer. Once we get our hands on it, we abolish it. It is removed from their credit report and should hopefully give them more financial stability,” said nonprofit Communications Director Daniel Lempert.

Nearly 1,000 people of different races and religious backgrounds across the state have been helped thanks to The Word Center.

“We have paid off $1.44 million in debt. People have been calling and reaching out just to say thank you because it was an unexpected gift right before the holidays.”

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