Help give back one million dollars to low income families in North Haven and Hamden. Volunteer, either virtually or in person, as a tax preparer for the eleven weeks of tax season at the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program held at Hamden High School. Greeters are also needed.
A joint initiative of United Way, the IRS and local volunteers, Hamden Adult Ed’s VITA program served over 400 households last year, returning tax credits and refunds of roughly $750,000 to North Haven/Hamden families struggling to make ends meet.
VITA greeters welcome clients at the door, direct them to the right rooms, and help them fill out paperwork. Trained volunteer tax preparers use online software to prepare tax returns for clients.
“Our volunteers come back year after year because they know what a difference they make,” says Jim Emswiler, site coordinator, “Every year they meet someone who’s using their refund to feed their family, keep them warm in winter, provide for child care while they work, pay tuition for night school.”
“Plus those refunds get spent right back in the community, creating a virtuous cycle of spending and jobs,” he adds.
In the five years of Hamden VITA’s existence, the number of North Haven/Hamden families it serves has doubled. As a result, Emswiler says the program needs additional volunteers--ordinary people with extraordinary hearts. Volunteers are trained, free of charge. No prior training or experience is needed. In-person volunteers donate one three- to four hour session on one night or Saturday each week from the end of January to mid-April. Virtual volunteers have an even more flexible schedule.
Says Emswiler, “So often we feel powerless to make a difference for struggling families. Here’s a way to do that, and it just takes a little training and one night or day each week for eleven weeks.”
For more information or to sign up to volunteer, contact Mary Ann Emswiler at email@example.com.