For H&R Block, tax season isn’t just about helping locals to file their taxes, but also about helping local military families in need.
On April 6, a local branch of the tax filing company met with U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch, State Senator Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), State Representative Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham), and the Military Friends Foundation to bring awareness to the public about how they can help military families this tax season.
The event recognized the family of Scituate resident and fallen hero Sgt. Michael J. Kelley, who was killed in 2005 while serving in Afghanistan.
The Kelley family has become the face of the “Take 5, Give $5” campaign, which encourages taxpayers to contribute $5 or more on Question 32E when filing their annual state taxes.
“When our servicemen and women are away – whether a parent, a spouse, a son or daughter – there are many challenges that can come up for their families at home,” said Joe Kelley, Sgt. Michael Kelley’s father. “A sudden accident, an illness, a costly home repair bill: these are all challenges that families suffer while their loved one is away. But thanks to the donations made through Question 32E, they need not suffer it alone.”
Taxpayers can contribute anytime during tax season, which ends on April 17. For one, filers can check Question 32E on their tax forms. Additionally, for every client who brings a Military Friends Foundation referral formto H&R Block when preparing their 2011 tax return, H&R Block will make a $25 contribution to the Military Friends Foundation.
“Military Friends Foundation is proud to partner with H&R Block and their network of tax professionals in the Commonwealth to bring attention to this important cause,” said Sarah Keller-Likins, executive director of the Military Friends Foundation. “Through this partnership, we want to encourage people to check the box. Giving through Question 32E on the state tax form is a convenient and easy way to donate – every contribution during tax time helps support a wide range of services year-round for local military families, who sacrifice so much.”
The campaign is a part of the Massachusetts Military Family Relief Fund, which was created by the state after the September 11 attacks to enable citizens to directly support military families in their own communities.
Established in 2003, the Friend’s job is not only to overseeing the distribution and allocation of that funding, but also to care for its citizen service members.
Overall, donations made through Question 32E have allowed for emergency travel, scholarships, grants, and homecoming events.
Then, as troops return, the funding focus becomes job fairs, civilian readjustment and the ongoing needs of military families.
Through all the group’s initiatives, the Friends have provided more than half a million dollars in grants to Massachusetts military families in more than 300 cities and towns in the Commonwealth.
Initiatives such as the “Take 5, Give $5” campaign help to continue that work, Lynch said.
“Actions taken this tax season can have a direct and positive impact on our state’s military families,” he said.
Jeff Pirner, district manager for H&R Block, agreed that military professionals were important in the community, and that initiatives such as these were important.
“We are pleased to partner with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Military Friends Foundation to support local military families,” Pirner said.
For more information on these initiatives, contact the Military Friends Foundation at 617-733-7994 or your local H&R Block office.
Credit: Jessica Bartlett, Boston Globe