Church purchases $5 million in medical debt to wipe it out

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(CNN) -- Nearly 6,000 families on Chicago's south side no longer have to pay some $5 million in medical debt.

(Source: CNN)

The debt was wiped by a group of local churches working with the New York-based nonprofit, "RIP Medical Debt", which works to purchase medical debt for pennies on the dollar.

5,888 families had their debt erased. They owed an average of just over $900.

One of the churches that worked on the campaign was Trinity United Church of Christ.

The church raised $38,000, which was used to help purchase the medical debt.

There were celebrations Sunday at Trinity United after the announcement was made.

"Instead of allowing debt collectors to purchase the debt, why not have communities of faith purchase that debt and forgive that debt,” Rev. Otis Moss, III said.

Some of the families who got debt relief still don't know. They'll get an anonymous card before Thanksgiving telling them their debts have been forgiven.