H&R Block community service day during Orlando convention

October 30, 2019 : Annelise Wiens

Each year, long before anyone receives their W-2s or other tax documents, there are several thousand people thinking about and preparing for tax season. It’s not just the tax experts who analyze changing tax laws at the federal, state and local levels. It’s several H&R Block teams from HR and marketing to product and franchise – all working together to be ready once tax season officially arrives and clients turn to the company for help in preparing their taxes.

This year, preparations kicked off as one team in Orlando, Florida, and during the H&R Block convention 2019 everyone set aside tax business for a few hours to serve the Orlando community and people nationwide with the largest corporate volunteer event ever for the Heart of Florida United Way.

“Our purpose is to provide help and inspire confidence in our clients and communities everywhere. From teaming with food banks, to working in community gardens, hosting blood drives, or giving tax talks, we are here for each and every community in the United States,” said Karen Orosco, senior vice president of retail at H&R Block. “With nearly 2,500 attendees, we knew we could make a big impact by helping Orlando community nonprofits.”

Packing meals in Orlando, Feeding Children Everywhere

H&R Block associates and franchisees started their community service with food kit packing. The volunteers put together more than 40,000 food packs providing 250,000 servings.

“Feeding Children Everywhere is an organization that allows families throughout the country to extend their grocery budget by shipping food to their homes. People can access the donated meals from any location in the country. Like H&R Block, Feeding Children Everywhere is in every community and able to help families nationwide,” said Orosco.

Building bikes for kids, college students and veterans

Other H&R Block volunteers switched gears to build 300 bikes for Orlando-area nonprofits: New Image Youth Center, United Against Poverty, Mission United and Orange County Public Schools.

Kathleen Wright, the manager for partners in education at the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools, said the bikes would be more than a fun incentive for students. Some students who walk to school have had a hard time getting to class on time. Some of the bikes will go directly to those students, whose school had already asked the Foundation for help solving this problem for the students.

“It’s about helping the kids get the experience and the opportunities of their education to the fullest,” said Wright.

As the evening’s community service wrapped up, Heart of Florida United Way director of volunteer engagement, Lynnea Crawford, encouraged the H&R Block volunteers: “Keep the momentum going. Our organizations here are not the only ones in need of help. Take this, keep the momentum going and support your community. We fight for every person in every community to be healthy, educated, financially stable and have their basic needs fulfilled.”

With 10,000 offices nationwide, H&R Block is committed to helping one block at a time, city by city, coast to coast – until together they make every block better.

For images from the H&R Block community service project, visit the media library.

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Annelise Wiens

Former Editor and Producer

As the former newsroom editor, Annelise Wiens was interested in more than just tax and industry news, but the stories of H&R Block's 80,000 associates, their communities and H&R Block's world headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Wiens joined H&R Block in 2014 from a public relations agency, where she worked with clients in the financial services industry. Before that, she worked as a communicator for a senior member of the United States House of Representatives. She graduated from Biola University in La Mirada, CA with a bachelor's degree in history.

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