From the Archive: Volunteer Spotlight | Delores Williams, Free Tax Prep volunteer site coordinator – “giving back is its own reward”

From left, Delores Williams and United Way President Bryce Haugsdahl

Delores Williams believes that giving back to our community is a reward in itself.

Williams just completed her third year as a member of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) team, working with the Earned Income Tax Credit Alliance (EITCA) at United Way’s EITCA/VITA site in the Hickory Ridge Mall.

EITCA/VITA sites help connect low and low-to-moderate income people with free tax preparation and making sure qualifying people file for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can result in greater tax refunds for individuals and families.

Williams was a crucial part of keeping the Hickory Ridge site open on Saturdays. She volunteered to serve as the Saturday coordinator from January 21st through April 14th.

“On average, we would have 25 to 30 people come on Saturdays to get help with their taxes. When I would get there at 9:30 a.m. in the morning, there would already be a line, waiting for me to open up,” she said.

volunteer spotlightThe Hickory Ridge Mall EITCA/VITA site stayed open past the April 17th deadline to file taxes, and roughly 150 people showed up in post-deadline days to get help with preparing and filing their taxes for free. Many people who miss the deadline neglect to file their taxes altogether, which can lead to additional problems and burdens for years to come. Keeping the center open for a few days after the deadline helps people avoid these long-term problems.

Recently, Williams represented the team of EITCA/VITA volunteers when they were nominated for Volunteer Mid-South’s “Spirit of Giving” awards in recognition for volunteering excellence in our community.

Williams is the Automatic Clearing House Coordinator for Hospitality Federal Credit Union. She has been preparing people’s taxes for 15 years – for seven years with H&R Block, and more recently as an EITCA/VITA volunteer. She enjoys the opportunity to serve our community and share her knowledge and skills to help someone with their tax returns.

“The responses you receive from the people, the joy, it’s like a glow,” she said. “Even if people owe, they feel like they have learned something. Some were willing to wait long hours to get the help they needed.”

As far as the future goes, Williams is optimistic about continuing her work through EITCA/VITA.

“I find it to be uplifting, because you want to give back to someone,” she said, adding, “sometimes you don’t have the means to do it. I am glad to be in a position where I can give back.”

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