Turn Tax Time into Dinner Time

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When I first joined the Feeding America National Office as their director of government relations and advocacy in 2010, my very first state legislative issue was Wisconsin's tax-check off. It was a warm welcome to my new role since I was a Wisconsinite commuting on the Amtrak down to Chicago every day.

The issue was that while our member food banks had gotten a piece of legislation passed to be one of the ten lucky charities in Wisconsin to be included on our state tax form, the statute had it written that the donations would go to the "Second Harvest Food Banks" in the state.

This was just a few years after the rebranding of America's Second Harvest to Feeding America and the name change of Second Harvest of Wisconsin to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. And it caused the Department of Revenue some consternation.

Wisconsin residents are very generous and so there was a significant amount of donations being held up by the state because they couldn't disburse them to the now Feeding America food banks.

A couple of conference calls and letters to the department of revenue, along with Feeding America's contract ironed the whole situation out. It's funny to me now five years later, I have my position here. Maybe I made a good first impression?

Anyway, as tax time approaches this year, you can make my work five years ago really impactful by donating a portion of your state tax refund to my members. The tax check off makes it easy for you to support our work.

If you use tax preparation software like TurboTax, an option to donate to local charities will come up toward the end of your state return. Simply select "hunger relief" or "Feeding America" and voila, you're done. TurboTax will even remember your donation for next year for your deductions!

If you are filling out the Wisconsin state tax return forms, you can find the option to donate on line 26 of the short form or line 25 on the long form.

Funds will be distributed between our members in Wisconsin by the percentage of the state that each one of them serves. Your generous support makes it possible for our members to do their work and for every dollar that you donate, our food banks can provide at least 5 meals to the families that visit our food programs.

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