Tag Archive for: Health

people climbing wall
people climbing wall

The Hazards of PayDay Loans for Tax Refunds

Tax time is approaching and many people will choose to receive Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL) better known as PayDay Loans from private tax preparers; so, they can leave the tax office with a check for their anticipated refund amount.


Before agreeing to an RAL the taxpayer should be aware of the following:


  • By agreeing to a refund-related financial product they will not receive their refund from the IRS as the IRS will send their refund to the financial institution.
  • RALs are interest bearing loans and not a quicker way of receiving their refunds from the IRS. No matter who files the return, the refund takes the same amount of time to be processed.
  • If the financial institution does not receive a Direct Deposit within the expected time frame for whatever reason, the taxpayer may be liable to the lender for additional interest and other fees. These loans could end up costing even more money; thereby, reducing the amount of the refund.
  • The taxpayer will be paying the loan fee, interest and the preparer fee. All of these fees can be eliminated if the taxpayer is able to wait 1-2 weeks for their refund and goes to a FREE VITA site (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). They will then save all of these fees and be able to have the refund directly deposited to their own bank account.


FREE VITA Site at Community Teamwork!

Community Teamwork works with the Internal Revenue Service to recruit and certify volunteer tax preparers. These are people from our own community who donate their time to study and pass tax tests in order to save others the cost of private tax preparer fees and loan fee and interest. There are never any fees with VITA!

The normal direct deposit time is only 1-to-2-1/2 weeks.

What is CTI’s VITA site doing to help?


  1. The program is adding additional tax appointment sessions throughout the month of February in order to help more people file and receive their refunds earlier.
  2. The MyFreeTaxes IRS-approved, self-preparation, tax program will be accessible during scheduled times on several of CTI’s community computers at 17 Kirk Street starting Wednesday, Feb. 4th. Taxpayers will be able to prepare, print and efile their own returns. VITA personnel will be available during those times to assist anyone with questions.

VITA will begin accepting calls for appointments starting on January 15th. If taxpayers have any questions before that they can contact Gail at 978-654-5676.


earth day
earth day

Celebrate Earth Day Today and Everyday

April 22nd is Earth Day! Below is a list of all sorts of things you can do to make a difference on the planet, in your own lives, and for your loved ones.

Eat local
–  Commercially grown produce travels far distances equaling lots of fuel burned and fewer nutrients for you.
–  Grow your own produce when possible.
–  Shop local farmers markets. Lowell’s will open this summer at the Lucy Larcom Park.  See this listing of those in surrounding towns.

Go organic
–  Non organic produce is grown using pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, ect. Organic animals do not take antibiotics or growth hormones.
–  Remember: non organic produce is always better than no produce! Check out this list of organic foods to try.

Be a chef
–  When you cook your own meals and eat at home you are reducing consumption of packaging and plastic cutlery. Try a new recipe.

Try to eat less meat
–  Eating more plant based food is good for the environment, healthy for you and cheaper!
–  Start by going meatless on Mondays.

Re-useable water bottles
–  Oil is required to make bottled water and we barely recycle them leading to clogging of landfills.
–  Carry a reusable bottle and refill it.

Enjoy nature
–  Pass up the drive thru and plan a picnic, turn off the TV and go for a family hike, skip the coffee date and go for walk together.

Rebecca Foulkes, BS, CLC
Program Nutritionist
Lowell WIC Program
Community Teamwork

american heart month
american heart month

Feel the Love – Take Care of Your Heart

heart monthThe staff of Community Teamwork’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition program have a special message of love for you.

February, the month of love, chocolate, roses, teddy bears, and fancy dinners is upon us. Yes, this is a great distraction from our very busy, hectic lives which we all need sometimes. However, what we need now more than ever is a healthy heart. Eating up all of those caramel and peanut butter filled chococlate hearts will not get you there. February is National Heart Health Month! So you wonder, how can we keep our heart in great shape so that our lives are longer and more fulfilling. There are many ways. So look in to your heart and think about what you eat, how often you exercise, and what you are putting in to your body. Your choices may be doing more damage than you realize.

Be more mindful of the food choices you make. Food can be medicine. Get back to the basics and eat real food- the foods we were meant to eat and digest. Eat less prepackaged and processed foods like frozen meals, hot dogs, deli meats and fast foods, and sugary drinks and snacks. Eat more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and WHOLE grains.

Exercise regularly. Exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, reduce cancer and diabetes risk, build healthy bones, muscles and joints. All of which can lower your risk for heart disease.

Don’t smoke. Smoking greatly increases your risk, as well as those who ingest your smoke, for heart disease. When you smoke you are inhaling toxic metals, cancer causing chemicals and poisonous gases.

Keep your heart in the best shape you can so that you can give your loved ones many more special Valentines days to come.