Danielle McIntyre is a financial coach at Santa Maria Community Services.
I’m coming up on my fourth year volunteering with the VITA site at Elder High School in Price Hill. The West Side VITA site in Price Hill is a beautiful example of a community effort. Many organizations and community volunteers come together to make sure West Side residents get their taxes filed for free and have access to their refunds without having to pay much of it back in preparation fees.
My favorite part of volunteering at the VITA site is the sense of community that comes along with it. As someone who works in the neighborhood, it’s a great way to get to know our neighbors a little better, both fellow preparers and tax payers. Tax payers are very appreciative of the service and don’t hesitate to show us. Last year, a couple whose taxes I prepared told me they wanted to do something nice for us since we were there every Saturday, working hard. The following Saturday, they showed up with a huge tray of homemade candy for all of us with a note that they looked forward to having their taxes prepared with us next year. It made my day.
As an employee of Santa Maria Community Services, one of the organizations who helps to host the site through setting appointments and serving as the primary contact for tax payers, it’s great fun to see the site come together every year. It’s been great to see the progress our site has made over the last three years, increasing the number of tax payers served and bringing more refund dollars back into the community.
While spending Saturdays preparing taxes can be a big commitment, I always find myself looking forward to those days when tax season rolls around. It’s a wonderful opportunity to spend cold winter mornings in a warm and welcoming environment, getting to know great people in a great community.
What this place needs … more volunteer tax preparers!