Guest blogger and Online Volunteer Specialist at United Way, Carly Bartz-Overman, tells it like it is on the Seattle freeze and how volunteering can overcome it.
Full disclosure: On an average day I’m in my pajamas and eating dinner by 6. Usually Netflix works its way into the mix too. So on Tuesdays, before my tax shift starts, I often fantasize about calling in sick and just going home right after work. The siren song of flannel is hard to ignore. But instead I walk a few blocks to the downtown library free tax site and start my volunteer shift where you can get your taxes done for FREE. And each week, I’m glad that I did.
I’ve met people who speak 5 languages, people who are using their returns to pay for school and people who put their return straight into an IRA. I’ve gotten hugs from people who owe money because doing taxes is so stressful they are just happy to have them done. The people I help are interesting and funny and sometimes living through tragedies and traumas I can’t imagine having to deal with. They inspire me to keep coming back, week after week, because I want to make sure I can help as many people as possible get the most out of their tax return.
With just under a month left, tax volunteers have prepared over 12,699 tax returns and helped people get over $20 million in refunds, but it’s not the statistics that I’ll remember; it’s the interesting, funny and sometimes heartbreaking stories I hear as a tax volunteer. It’s the hugs, the thank yous, and the way people you just met are willing to open up and tell you about their lives. And that is better than all the flannel and Netflix in the world.
If you ever need to thaw out from the Seattle freeze, get on up and out to volunteering. If you or someone you know could benefit from getting their taxes done for free, send them here to see if they qualify.