VITA clients can win prizes for sharing their stories
As part of our new story-collecting process, NCTC is providing incentives to clients who have taken time to be interviewed and share about their experience and struggles. Throughout the tax season, NCTC is randomly choosing a story and sending that client a $20 gift card. Donna Hodges, a client of Just Harvest in Pittsburgh for several years, is our first winner!
Donna, 60, is a proud parent, and close to her daughter, who is employed as a nurse. Donna has held minimum-wage jobs since she was 16. Recently, she has been employed as a cashier, but after suffering a shoulder injury, she became disabled and was unable to work for a large portion of the year. Last year was a real struggle for Donna, as she was primarily depending on disability benefits to get by.
“I have worked all my life, but I have never been in a position to save much. Programs like free taxpayer assistance are such a help,” she said.
Donna received a $700 tax refund this year, which she will be able to use to pay-off debt, with a couple hundred dollars set-aside to help deal with life’s unexpected challenges.
Stories like Donna’s help NCTC put a human face on how VITA services and tax credits help individuals and families take care of some of the basic necessities. It would have been difficult for Donna, given her situation, to afford the high fees for commercial tax preparation. She was relieved to know that she could count on the help of a trained and knowledgeable volunteer with the free tax preparation service offered by Just Harvest.
If you work at a VITA site, and need help collecting client stories this year, it is not too late! NCTC is able to interview your clients; we just need their contact information and consent.
To get started, take a look at the materials on our website, including a one-page volunteer training sheet that describes the procedure, the client contact information worksheet, and the client story release form.