Christine Adler has been co-chair of Lewiston’s free tax preparation service LA CA$H since the early 2000s. Submitted photo

LEWISTON — Christine Adler learned how to prepare her  taxes when she was 16.

When she got her first job, she said her father sat her down with paper, a pencil and a calculator and got to work.

Now, Adler is a veteran tax preparation volunteer and co-chair of the LA CA$H Coalition, which provides free tax services for low-to-moderate income families in Lewiston-Auburn.

When Adler first came on board during the mid-2000s, she was working with Promise Early Education in Lewiston.

She knew how much tax preparation assistance could impact low-income families. Part of the coalition’s main goal is to make sure families are taking advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

“Helping a family work toward financial stability really is one of the key pieces of breaking those cycles of poverty,” she said. “This was one way I thought I could use my talents.”

Adler, who now works for Safe Voices, the domestic violence prevention nonprofit in Auburn, said she took advantage of further tax training through the IRS, and after a few years of volunteering was asked to be co-chair.

“When Chris Adler sees a need, she steps up,” said Dottie Perham-Whitter, Lewiston’s community relations coordinator.

Perham-Whitter has served as co-chair of LA CA$H Coalition alongside Adler for years, and said the city has “greatly benefited from her commitment” to the program.

As co-chair, Adler has done both tax preparation and work to oversee the coalition budget and volunteer ranks. This tax season, she said the coalition has been offering a “scan and go” option on Thursday nights to make it easier for families in a crunch.

She said LA CASH’s goal this year is to serve 350 customers, which she believes will be met. The AARP Tax Aide service also operates out of Auburn.

More recently, Adler was also an active volunteer during Lewiston’s effort to build the state’s first universally-accessible playground, Jude’s Place at Marcotte Park, which opened in the fall of 2018.

Through her work at Promise Early Education she became a member of the project’s working group, which toiled for years to secure the proper funding and support for the playground, which allows children of all abilities to play alongside one another.

When it finally came time to cut the ribbon, she was among the few people invited to speak. It just so happened to be a cold day in mid-November.

“It was probably one of my proudest moments,” she said, adding that Sen. Nate Libby, who led the playground effort, had to hold down her speech in the subzero winds. “For me it was a shining moment.”

Despite the weather, roughly 70 people attended the ceremony, which she said spoke to how many people were involved and cared about the project.

“She loves people and wants the best for them, whether it’s providing free tax prep to low-to-moderate-income families or children having the opportunity to play side-by-side with no barriers,” Perham-Whittier said. “She is very proud of her community, and people know her far and wide as a person who lends a hand whenever possible.”

Adler, 58, lives in Lewiston but originally hails from Connecticut. She moved to Maine to attend St. Joseph’s College but ended up staying here and raising a family.

For a few years when her children were young, Adler and her family lived in Buckfield, where she served on the School Committee for three years.

LA CA$H is offering tax preparation services at the Lewiston Armory on Thursdays, 5-7:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those interested must call 513-3160 for an appointment. This season goes until April 11.

Know someone with a deep well of unlimited public spirit? Someone who gives of their time to make their community a better place? Then nominate them for Kudos. Send their name and the place where they do their good deeds to reporter Andrew Rice at [email protected] and we’ll do the rest.


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