Helping folks give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s is what volunteers in Edmonton, Alberta, do at tax time.
Several Christian Reformed churches in Edmonton are involved with the E4C Make Tax Time Pay program, a volunteer initiative that helps low-income earners prepare their taxes.
The volunteers are trained by Canada Revenue Agency through its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program to help those with low incomes get any refunds they are due. Volunteers also help people apply for various government subsidies they may not be aware exist, such as childcare subsidies, health care benefits, and even a leisure access pass from the City of Edmonton.
Last year volunteers helped access over $1.1 million in income tax refunds and helped people access over 1,350 government benefits and subsidies.
Dave Greidanus, a member of Maranatha CRC and a former Canada Revenue employee, volunteers his time in a few different locations. “There are a lot of people that really need help to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty,” he said. “We are helping out someone that really can’t help themselves.”
Susan Schouten, the site coordinator at Maranatha, said, “We’ve been doing this since 2006 and we are beginning to know people by name. They call me at home to book their appointment and ask me how I’ve been. The people we serve are very thankful for the help.”