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VITA volunteers brought $728,000 back to the community

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Local North Coast Opportunities (NCO) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers recently gathered together to celebrate the success of the 2013 Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program.  These volunteers have a good deal to be happy about. Together they processed 567 income tax returns for qualifying low-income households in Lake and Mendocino Counties, bringing $728,000 in refund dollars back to our community.

As part of a five-county coalition headed by the United Way of the Wine Country, North Coast Opportunities partnered with Mendo Lake Credit Union and Mendocino College to provide free income tax preparation services at NCO as well as in libraries, college campuses, and credit union branches.  Volunteers travelled to Fort Bragg, Covelo, Clearlake, and Lakeport to ensure that as many county residents as possible had an opportunity to take advantage of these free services. 

“Many of those who came to us for income tax preparation were surprised to learn that they were eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, or the Educational Tax Credit.  Our volunteers are trained to be sure that these credits are not overlooked.  It was extremely rewarding to see the happy faces of those who received much more than expected in tax refund dollars and hear how the additional income will make a positive difference in their lives,” said Rebecca Enberg, NCO Volunteer Network Manager.  “When you take into account the fact that the average cost for a simple tax return is $200, the Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program is playing a huge part in keeping dollars in the pockets of those who need it most.”

Volunteers participating in the 2013 Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program were Jennifer Hoyle, Michele Bode, Thomas Rowley, Tami Bartolomei, Tacara Miller, Jose Chavira, Dakhota Hockett, Dianne Laster, Brent Lowery, Stanley Wong, Alexander Rich, Veronica Vega, Roni McDonald, Sarah Eggleston, Kate Fabian, Kate Stornetta, and Tanya Manuel.

VITA Volunteers receive free training provided by the Internal Revenue Service and must pass required testing.  Individuals interested in becoming a volunteer for the upcoming 2014 VITA EKS Program may sign up at, or call the NCO Volunteer Network at 462-1959 for more information.

Program(s) Involved: Volunteer Network