A few members of the United Way staff spent Saturday in the Pico-Union neighborhood at L.A. Red Shield Community Center, where families received free assistance filing their taxes from Central City Neighborhood Partners (CCNP).

L.A. Red Shield Community Center offered a safe and familiar place for people to congregate. The energy rushing throughout the building was uplifting and joyful. 

You could hear the power of community in the sound of a referee’s whistle, followed by friendly shouting and clapping from the soccer game going on outside. The sound of kids’ sneakers squeaking across the gym floor during basketball practice. The sound of lego pieces falling to the ground, as caregivers patiently helped children reassemble them. The sound of tiny ballerinas giggling and running through the hallways to rehearsal. And you could hear the power of community as families checked in for the tax appointment. 

The CCNP staff was there at 8am, ready to help families prepare their tax returns and eventually claim back hard-earned money. Many families receiving these free services have experienced job loss due to the pandemic and other circumstances. And for many that are low-income, getting their refund is that much more important to their families. Services like free tax preparation help families pay other critical bills, like rent, utilities, food, and childcare.

Overall, it was a day that reinforced how incredible it is when neighbors support, celebrate, and love each other. 

CCNP’s mission is to advance economic opportunities for low-income families by fostering partnerships and supporting positive community change. To learn more about their impactful work across the county, visit www.laccnp.org.

To learn more about the L.A. Red Shield Community Center, visit www.laredshield.salvationarmy.org