Community Teamwork Salutes Family Advocates & Launches Free Tax Program

Dec, Jan, Feb Pix 364Community Teamwork paid tribute to five elected officials for their success in advocating for essential programs and supports for families and children. It also launched its Free Tax Preparation Program that includes helping qualified families obtain the Earned Income Tax Credit.

U.S. Representative John Tierney, State Senator Eileen Donoghue, and State Representatives Dave Nangle, Kevin Murphy and Thomas Golden received awards for “Helping All Families Achieve Self Sufficiency.”  Echoing the sentiments of all those being honored, Congressman Tierney noted that this “team always works together and it never stops. We’re all working toward the same goals for our residents.” Photo left to right: (l-r) State Rep. Thomas Golden, State Senator Eileen Donoghue, State Rep. Kevin Murphy, U.S. Rep. John Tierney, CTI Executive Director Karen Frederick, State Rep. David Nangle, Head Start parent Jessica Lima and Community Teamwork Early Learning Director Christopher Hunt. Below: Head Start parent Jessica Lima.

Frederick thanked the entire delegation including  Niki Tsongas, who was unable to attend, for  their  tireless commitment to families and people in need.  “CommunDec, Jan, Feb Pix 330ity Teamwork couldn’t have a better team to advocate for all of us.” Early Learning Director Chris Hunt noted that this extraordinary team has helped us  achieve a 2.3% rate increase for the Head Start program, so needed to help us deliver quality services to as many families as possible.”

Parent Jessica Lima testified to the value of their work and that of Community Teamwork: “I’m a full-time mother and a full-time worker. It would be impossible for me to afford regular child care without the Head Start program. For a few years, my father was always there to provide that care. But he passed. I’m so grateful to everyone, to Community Teamwork and Head Start.” State Senator Donoghue noted that Jessica’s story brings to life the need: “instead of a budget line item, today when we listen to Jessica’s story we realize that it’s real people who are affected by these important programs.”

Tierney and the delegation praised Community Teamwork’s central role in providing Free Tax Preparation through the federally-funded Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, including its Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). IRS Tax Advocate Joel Zarella said that the EITC program “helps many families stretch their annual income for essentials including food, heat, bills and so much more. The program also saves families a great deal of money on tax preparation services.”

Frederick thanked CTI’s partners Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, Mills42 Federal Credit Union and UMass Lowell for providing qualified volunteers and expanded hours and locations for people to get their taxes completed. Frederick also noted that Community Teamwork has expanded the tax program to include homeless families and individuals living in local shelters as well as hotels and motels. “Homelessness is at an all time high, with well over 2,000 people living in shelters, hotels and motels at this time. Our outreach to these families will help when it counts most. For all qualified families, the VITA and the Earned Income Tax Credit programs put much needed money back into the hands of hard-working community members who are struggling to make ends meet.”

To learn more about the VITA Free Tax Preparation Program and EITC contact Gail Fortes at 978 654-5640 or gfortes@commteam.org.