AARP Tax-Aide volunteers are neighbors helping neighbors

Nancy Mace
Waynesboro Record Herald

Volunteers with the AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide program site in Shady Grove expect to file more than 400 federal, state and local tax returns for local residents this year.

A team of volunteers is set up in the Shady Grove Community Center Tuesdays and Thursdays to provide free tax services, primarily focusing on returns for senior citizens, according to volunteer Doug Tengler, now in his second year with the program.

“I'm so proud of the many volunteers that spent so many hours this year with no pay at all. This is just neighbor helping neighbor,” he noted.

AARP Tax-Aide volunteers Lois Beckman and Ron Gipe assist Vickie Brookens and Harry Lenharr at the Shady Grove Community Center.

The nationwide tax help program is aimed at those who have low to moderate incomes, but Tax-Aide is open to anyone free of charge and you don't need to be an AARP member.

Tengler said Ron Gipe, who grew up across the street from the community center, partnered with Sherry Miles, administrator of the facility, to make sure the service would continue after the previous locations in Greencastle and Waynesboro were not available this year.

The program is complying with COVID-19 restrictions, including social distancing.

“Appointments are required and clients have to pick up their returns at a later date, but it’s running well,” according to Tengler.

“We also are so fortunate to have some of our local small businesses partnering with us. The Parlor House in Waynesboro provided lunch one day. This is really welcomed by the volunteers who have been working so hard over the past couple of weeks, especially when they did not get a lunch break,” according to Tengler. “Kline’s Grocery in Shady Grove also provided lunch and this was greatly appreciated."

Tengler said every site is staffed by many team members, and AARP would not be able to do their work in Shady Grove without the efforts of the volunteers, including Gipe, Pam Wagner, Norma Sears, Rhonda McFarland, Dwight Wagner, Deb College, Lois Beckman and Joe Schellhase. They are also assisted by another 10 volunteers who are preparing returns remotely.

Tax-Aide's 3,600 nationwide volunteers are certified by the IRS; the deadline to file a federal return is April 15.

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In addition to Shady Grove, volunteers are available Chambersburg Recreation Center on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; and the American Legion in McConnellsburg on Wednesdays.

Local residents who want to have their taxes prepared free by the volunteers can call 240-232-5574, 717-778-4227 or 717-263-5479.

At the website AARPFoundation@org/taxaide, people enter their ZIP code to find a local site and pick from available appointments.