The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP Tax-Aide programs help prepare federal and state income tax and property tax refund returns. There are over 200 free tax preparation sites available across Minnesota. You may qualify for free tax preparation for your returns.
You can generally get help at a VITA site if any of the following are true: 1) You are age 60 or older; 2) You are a person with a disability; 3) You speak limited or no English; 4) Your annual income is less than $55,000.
AARP Tax-Aide sites do not have income or age restrictions. All sites only prepare basic returns. Important documents to bring to the Tax-Aide site are previous year’s tax return(s); Social Security cards and/or ITIN notices/cards or other official documentation that show the taxpayer identification numbers for every individual on your return; government-issued photo ID for each taxpayer; Checking or savings account information if you want to direct deposit any refund(s) or direct debit any amounts due; Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) (for each individual if applicable).
Tax assistance is available at
Pillsbury House, 3501 Chicago Ave. S.
Mon. & Thurs., 9 a.m. to noon (call first to sign up at 612-824-0708).
American Indian Center, 1530 E. Franklin Ave. Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to noon (call to make an appointment at 612-879-1700).
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E. 31st St.
Mon. & Wed., 9 a.m. to noon (first come first served). More information at 612-729-8358. Open to anyone, especially people over 50 or those who can’t afford paid tax preparation.
While the nearby Hosmer Library is closed, some of the staff at the Hosmer Library are continuing programs for K-12 students in the Sabathani Community Center, Room 322. We expect to be here until shortly before the library re-opens at the end of spring or early summer. School-aged youth are welcome to use our space—we have computers, board games and video games, snacks, meals and books available. Our open hours are:
Mondays through Thursdays, 3 to 7 p.m.
Saturdays, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Additionally, we have weekly programs:
• Homework Help: Free in-person tutoring for K-12 students.
Mondays and Wednesdays 4:00-7:30pm, Saturdays 1:00-4:30pm.
• Teen Tech Squad: Science, art, and engineering activities Tuesdays from 4:30-6:00pm for all ages, led by teen employees.
Calling All Musicians
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is scheduling musicians for its MPRB summer concert series. There will be daily music at five concert venues for a total of over 250 concerts each season, running Memorial Day through Labor Day. If you would like to perform music, either solo or with a group, check out the application on this website: https://form.jotform.com/83405183057152, or get an application by writing the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Attn: Erica Chua, 2117 W. River Rd., Mpls., MN 55411. The MPRB Event Staff provides a full sound system for performing artists as well as sound technicians.
Grants Available: Up to $5,000 for Residents with Open Citations on their Property
The Longfellow Community Council is offering grants up to $5,000 for residents of Longfellow, Cooper, Howe and Hiawatha neighborhoods of Greater Longfellow who have received citations from the City of Minneapolis after a property inspection. The grants are offered to residents who are at or below 80% AMI (area median income). To find out if you qualify, contact the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) at 612-335-5858 or go to the grant page on their website at https://www.mncee.org/services/financing/longfellow/. After you access this page, click on the words “START APPLICATION PROCESS” to the far right of the page and fill out the requested information to see if you qualify. This program is funded by the Longfellow Community Council and will be open until grant funds are expended.
New Radio Station Hits South Minneapolis
A new community radio station began broadcasting on 98.9 FM to a potential 300,000 Minneapolis listeners. KRSM Southside Media Project is a low-power FM radio station that operates out of Waite House Community Center in South Minneapolis as part of the Community Media Initiative by Pillsbury United Communities. The station, which began live-streaming online in March of this year, will share 65 hours per week of original programming in six different languages created by a team of over 100 volunteers and hosts. The weekly schedule includes shows about mental health, community organizing, relationships and sexuality, entrepreneurship, history, music and more. The station will also feature syndicated content such as lessons in Ojibwe language, history and culture created by partner stations on Native reservations around greater Minnesota as well as Spanish-language content from Democracy Now.
KRSM is designed to provide a platform for elevating the voices, narratives and cultures of communities that have a history of being marginalized, misrepresented and erased by traditional media. Over half of the shows are run by women, 73% are hosted by Indigenous and people of color, and 80% of the hosts have had no previous experience working in radio. The station also serves as an on-ramp to jobs in the media industry by offering free training opportunities and access to professional grade equipment. New programming to expect soon includes a monthly radio novella from El Colegio high schoolers as well as a show run entirely by people incarcerated in prison. The full show schedule is available online at krsmradio.org, and listeners can access programming through the website, mobile app or 98.9 FM.
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT)
HOBT recently received a $275,000 gift from the Sarah Bowman Trust. Sarah Bowman was a longtime supporter of HOBT and for several years was part of the “Sun Flotilla” of red canoes that bring the Sun Puppet across Powderhorn Lake at the climax of HOBT’s annual MayDay Ceremony. Sarah passed away suddenly in an accident in 2016, and her death rattled this community. HOBT was unaware of its prominent place in her estate planning until after her death.
This gift will have significant impacts on the communities served by HOBT. Three years from HOBT’s 2014 financial crisis, and one month away from the end of our fiscal year, HOBT is proud to say that these funds will not be needed to balance the organization’s operating budget. HOBT intends to complete the current fiscal year on target, and has a balanced budget for the coming year. Instead, this gift from Sarah Bowman makes much bigger things possible.
Parent Resource Group Meets in South Minneapolis
NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) provides support groups to help parents of children under 18 discover resources to meet the challenges of raising a child with mental illness, learn coping skills and develop problem-solving skills. The groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has been trained to lead support groups. A parent resource group meets in South Minneapolis on the first Saturday of each month, from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m., at Lake Nokomis Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. Bilingual support is available for Spanish speaking families. For more information contact NAMI at 651-645-2948.
Seward Co-op Wins Sustainability Star Award
Seward Co-op has been named a Sustainability Star by National Co-op Grocers (NCG) for excellence in sustainability efforts. The award recognizes food co-ops that demonstrate outstanding leadership by making a positive impact on social, environmental and local economic issues.
At its annual meeting in April, NCG honored Seward Co-op for its commitment to positive environmental impacts and improving sustainable practices where possible, particularly in the area of waste management. Seward Co-op’s three business locations’ recycling and compost efforts divert approximately 85% of waste from landfill or incineration.
Like all Sustainability Star Award winners, Seward Co-op participates in Co+efficient, NCG’s sustainability program that helps co-op grocery stores measure their impacts, drive improvements, and share the story of their important work with community members and other co-ops. This marks the second year that NCG has highlighted co-ops by awarding Sustainability Star honors. Seward Co-op is one of 10 co-ops nationwide recognized for its 2016 performance.
Seward Co-op is proud to share its successes and draw community attention to the many challenges facing ethical and sustainable food production and distribution in an inclusive socially responsible manner. In the last two years, they have expanded their diverse workforce to more than 330 employees earning a living wage.
The cooperative sector has long been an innovator in sustainability. Earning Sustainability Star recognition shows that Seward Co-op is leading the way, not only by excelling in its sustainability pursuits but by sharing the details and result of its efforts for the benefit of co-ops and communities around the country.
Chicago Ave. Permaculture
A permaculture community garden with wild flowers, vegetables and fruit- and nut-bearing trees is being developed at 3740 Chicago Ave. S. It is a joint project of the Baha’i community, Sisters Camelot and the Youth Garden. Some of the produce will be sold via the Youth Garden, but a large part will be free food for the neighborhood. Anyone and everyone is invited to invest in this great garden by working on Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings, starting at 9:30. The opportunity to learn about this sustainable “with nature and not against nature” method should not be missed.
Friendship Academy of the Arts Awarded $7,500 Grant!
Target and national nonprofit KaBOOM! awarded Friendship Academy of the Arts a $7,500 grant to use toward the purchase of an Rigamajig™ play equipment system. KaBOOM!, the national nonprofit dedicated to giving kids the childhood they deserve through play, is working with Target to increase access to play across the country. Grants for Rigamajig™ are helping to achieve that goal by bringing active play to more than 430,000 kids across the country.
Cornerstone Nonprofit Thrift Store
Park Avenue Church
3400 Park Ave.
Gently-used, high-quality clothing and household/gift items. Everything is about $1 (children’s clothing $.50). Open Tuesdays 3:30 to 5 p.m., Wednesdays 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Enter through parking lot doors, downstairs to lower level on the left. Open to all!
Phillips Literacy Network (PLN) If you want to do something wonderful for the world (and for yourself), take some time to teach a child to read. Contact Anna Meteyer at email@example.com or Kate Percuoco at firstname.lastname@example.org join the Phillips Literacy Network (PLN). It’s a conspiracy against illiteracy.
If you see someone you suspect is homeless please call St. Steven’s Street Outreach at 612-879-7624. They will work with this individual and try to find shelter and resources for them.
FREE SAFETY CHECK FOR SENIORS – ACT NOW!
The HOME Program of Senior Community Services is offering a no-cost Home Assessment which will evaluate the safety of the homes of senior citizens as part of a grant through the state of Minnesota. We will check out your need for handrails, grab-bars, smoke detectors, lighting and other safety components. Elders aged 60+ residing in suburban Hennepin County and Minneapolis are eligible for this limited time offer. No sales. For more information contact 952-746-4046. Senior Community Services is a nonprofit organization with five programs, including HOME, which serves seniors and caregivers in Hennepin County.
Handbook of the Streets
People experiencing homelessness may get a free copy of “Handbook of the Streets” by coming to 2309 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls. 55404 or to Street Outreach at 333 S. 12th St., Mpls. 55404.
Random Acts of Kindness At Our Local Dairy Queen
Southside Pride received an email from the general manager at Dairy Queen: “We had TWO separate acts of kindness on Saturday, Sept. 6. Really quite amazing. First, a couple (man and woman) bought three 10-dollar gift cards and handed them out to customers randomly waiting in line to order. Then, about an hour later, a man left $100 and told our server to use the money for the next customers till the money ran out. As far as we know these were unrelated, but who knows. I have talked to my staff about the significance of this and [encourage them] to try to pass this on whether financially or helping people in other ways. And I think these random acts of kindness deserve some kind of recognition. Thanks for your help, Steve.”
Register Your Bicycle with the Minneapolis Police Department!
This will help them return your bicycle if it is recovered after being lost or stolen. Every year, thousands of bicycles are lost or stolen in Minneapolis. Many of them are recovered. However, because of lack of proper identification, only a small number are ever returned to their owners. The Minneapolis Police Department has an easy online way to register your bicycle. http://www.minneapolismn.gov/police/about/evidence/police_about_bicycles. You will need to include the bicycle’s serial number, a description of the bicycle and your contact information. You can also call 311 to register. Registration is free of charge.
Help Seniors with Their Yards
Spring is here (we believed in it all along) and senior citizens may need help with raking and yard cleanup. Minneapolis seniors (65+) who need help may contact 612-374-3322 or email email@example.com.
Anyone who would like to help seniors remain independent in their homes may sign up to rake and clean somebody’s yard. Get some friends together, pick a date and time, and contact Jeanne, The Neighborhood Involvement Seniors Program coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-746-8549.
Senior Nutrition Program
Monday through Friday the Volunteers of America host a free/reduced price lunch for area seniors aged 60+. The suggested contribution is $3.50. However, they just ask people to pay what they can afford. No one is ever denied a meal because they cannot pay. Meals are at 1 p.m. at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1720 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. For more info call 952-945-4157 or 612-729-6668.
Free Home Security Audits
Is having your house or garage broken into a constant worry for you? Stop home burglaries before they happen with a free home security audit conducted by Crime Prevention Specialist Sue Roethele. Contact Sue at the 3rd Precinct by calling 612-673-2839.