Working families may be eligible for tax credits

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With tax filing in full swing, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa spent his morning helping Angelenos learn how to put money back into their pockets with the help of the Earned Income Tax Credit Program. For millions of low-income working families, the struggle to make ends meet is harder than it has to be. That is the message the Los Angeles mayor brought to the Watts Labor Community Action Committee on Thursday. He encouraged families to file for the federal earned income tax credit.

“Our message today is that there’s help that’s on the way,” said Villaraigosa. ” There are opportunities for you to cash in on your own hard work, to qualify and reap the benefits of the earned income tax credit.”

The United Way of Greater Los Angeles is helping spread awareness about organizations that provide families with free tax assistance. Families with three children who earn less than $48,362 a year can qualify for up to $5,666.

Elise Buik, the President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles said, 15 to 20 percent of families are not accessing money that they’re entitled to.

“We’re leaving that money on the table in Washington,” Buik said. “So $250 million dollars, families are eligible for that. So lets get that money back to Los Angeles and in the pockets of our families and in our local economy. It will make a huge boost.”

For more information and to find one of over 100 free tax preparation sites, visit the partnership’s website at

Seed Lady works toward community garden in Watts

When Anna Marie Carter goes for a walk outside of her home, she usually returns with a number of seeds in her pocket. She has been known to collect seeds for about 20 different types of vegetation. After some time, she developed a reputation as the Seed Lady of Watts.

“I am not your normal, average American,” Carter, the founder of the Watts Garden Club, said. “I save seeds, and your normal, average American does not save any.”

But her expertise in gardening will pay off in her latest endeavor, the LA Watts Times reported. The certified master gardener will help set up a new 2.48-acre plot of land in Watts, working alongside her friend, Janine Watkins, of the non-profit Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC).

The land, located at 103rd and Grape streets, has already been purchased by the WLCAC. The Watts Health Foundation initially owned the land about 10 years ago, but sold the land to pay off some debts, Watkins said. When the foundation owned the property, Carter was already in discussion about possibly purchasing the land, but says she feels honored and proud to now play a role in the WLCAC’s plans.

“Our organization knew of Carter and her endeavors to beautify gardens, so we brought her in our wing to help with the land,” Watkins said.

The 124-plot land, and the front portion of the land, is set to open by fall, Watkins said.

“Everything Carter and our organization provide is fused with the idea that urban communities should have access to local food,” Watkins added.

Carter launched the Watts Garden Club in 2002 because she wanted to offset the area’s reputation. Most see Watts as an impoverished and drug-infested area, so she intended to create an outlet where children and families could come together to plant gardens. The club also emphasizes the importance of eating and living better.


To learn more about the club, please visit, or contact Carter at (323) 969-4740.