From February to April each year, D.C. Hunger Solutions partners with D.C. Community Tax Aid to help income-eligible residents take advantage of their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) while filing their taxes. However, due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, D.C. Hunger Solutions had to cut the 2020 EITC Campaign short. Although the campaign ended in March, our 45 volunteers helped complete 75 SNAP applications and clocked in over 250 volunteer hours across five tax filing sites in the District. These are amazing numbers and our volunteers deserve recognition!
The success of our outreach campaign is largely due to the tireless work of our volunteers. To celebrate their efforts, we asked volunteers to share their experiences working on the 2020 EITC campaign. Most shared that the most memorable aspects of working on the campaign were the connections they made with the D.C. residents.
“I once spent way too long providing application assistance to an older gentleman. Our conversation kept getting derailed with talk of his jazz singing career, family, and three cats. I could tell he just wanted to talk with someone, so I let the conversation go this way and that. I finally did complete his application and the big hug at the end of it was even more rewarding.” (Disclaimer: this occurred in January, prior to social distancing guidelines)
“I was nervous to start a conversation with a stranger at first, but I realized after my first shift that generally people are polite and people reciprocate kindness. If you approach with kindness, you’ll get kindness in return. It was an unexpected yet humble reminder of a simple life lesson we all know.”
What is unique about the EITC campaign is the opportunity to help others one-on-one. Volunteers are able to connect on a deeper level with the District’s community while helping them apply for important benefits like SNAP.
If you are considering becoming an EITC volunteer for the 2021 year, take it from Tammy, one of our first-time volunteers: “Do it. It is so rewarding….and so very much needed for the people we share our community with. People need access to food.” We begin recruiting our volunteers every December and spend January conducting trainings. This gives the volunteers the opportunity to learn the basics of SNAP and how to properly assist clients in filling out SNAP applications.
You also have an opportunity to volunteer with D.C. Hunger Solutions during the summer months! During our summer program, volunteers conduct SNAP outreach at local farmers markets across the District. If you are interested in learning more about our summer outreach program or becoming an EITC volunteer for next year, please reach out to email@example.com and we can add you to our contact list!
**Disclaimer: due to COVID-19, we are unsure of the start date of the 2020 summer outreach program.**
We are so grateful for our EITC volunteers and their dedication to helping Washington, D.C.’s residents. D.C. Hunger Solutions looks forward to starting up the outreach campaign again next year!