Source: Review Atlas
By Andy Bell-Baltaci
February 14, 2018
MONMOUTH — This tax season, Smithfield Foods workers who may have limited English skills will have the opportunity to get assistance understanding and filing their taxes. The opportunity comes thanks to a large grant from United Way Worldwide, a partnership between Smithfield Foods and Warren County United Way, and a team of interpreters to assist the speakers of 14 different languages at the plant.
According to a press release distributed by MyFreeTaxes.com, “The MyFreeTaxes.com service, in connection with Warren County United Way, will also be available to all Warren County residents earning less than $66,000 annually as a safe, easy and completely free way for individuals or families to file their federal and state taxes.”
Warren County United Way Executive Director Jeannie Weber notes, however, that the program is intended mostly for Smithfield workers. She says the partnership between United Way and the facility runs deep, and this initiative is another chapter in it.
“United Way has been working with that facility for as long as I can see in our history,” Weber said. “Over the course of the last three years with Smithfield, our relationship has grown as United Way grows to meet the needs of the community, which includes assisting the families that are here and living here.”
Weber says United Way hopes to reach 100 to 300 families with the program. She adds that Smithfield employees will be assisted by eight interpreters who will be at the plant, many of whom “speak three or four different languages.”
According to the press release, “Warren County was one of a small number to be selected (for the grant) out of hundreds of applications nationwide.”
Gene Cook, facility general manager at Smithfield Foods Monmouth, says the program is key for the immigrant community, and the latest such initiative from Warren County United Way.
“Over the last few years, we have had the pleasure of being at the table as (Weber) establishes new programs, particularly those that are designed to support the hundreds of immigrant families in our Warren County community,” Cook said in the news release. “Warren County United Way focused this grant to help local employees and their families.”
Weber says the program has a been advertised via “posters and fliers in seven different languages posted at Smithfield.”
“Those same fliers were distributed to a few churches and places where we would expect people to come,” she added.
Weber, who expects the program to become an annual occurrence, said she was grateful for the grant and the opportunity to bring the near decade-old program to Monmouth.
“This program has been successful across the nation for nine years,” Weber said. “I’m happy to have this opportunity to bring the program to this community.”