Free tax prep is pandemic-safe for volunteers and clients [United Way volunteer column] | Food + Living

The process of completing a yearly tax return can be intimidating, but United Way of Lancaster County is here to help. Our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance volunteers work to assist low- to middle-income families in our community by offering free tax preparation for those in need. It’s a simple way to offer support to those who may be struggling financially and ensure families are keeping their hard-earned money in their own hands.

In response to COVID-19, the VITA program may look a little different to residents this year.

To increase safety for our volunteers and clients, VITA will be providing services using a drop-off model. The program’s current need is for volunteers who would be comfortable having minimal safe contact with clients while helping to receive and scan client tax documents. These volunteers do not need to have any tax experience and will be provided with PPE for client contact.

In 2020, VITA was able to serve 9,400 people and saved them almost $2.6M in tax preparation fees. Please join them in continuing to help those in Lancaster County who need this service.

If you are interested in helping to provide tax preparation services in Lancaster County, please contact Michelle Ingham at [email protected]

More opportunities

For other ways to get involved, consider one of the following current volunteer needs:

— Steps to Success believes that to work with children is to invest in the future. To foster a well-adjusted, confident individual is to create a responsible community member. The center wants to empower children by providing them with opportunities to learn respect for their environment, take responsibility for their actions and reach their goals. Steps to Success is seeking additional board members during a time of transition. For more information about joining their leadership team, please contact Michelle at [email protected] or 717-656-3363.

— American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley is seeking Blood Donor Volunteers who will provide excellent and enthusiastic customer service to enhance the blood donor experience. These individuals will engage with blood donors to make the donation experience fulfilling and set the stage for a long-term commitment to regular blood donations. For more information, please contact Susan Fleming at 717-461-1590 or [email protected]

— Lancaster/CompeerCORPS is looking for volunteers to spend four hours a month developing a friendship with an adult recovering from mental illness, or make a weekly telephone call to an adult waiting for a volunteer friend. One-year commitment is requested. Criminal background check required. To schedule your immediate orientation and training, call Joe Mills at 717-397-7461 or email to [email protected]

Audrey Lilley is the manager of volunteerism and advocacy at United Way of Lancaster County.

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