AARP volunteers help people file taxes in Harrison, Ark.

HARRISON, Ark. -- For Arlon Hickman, Mondays and Tuesdays are holy days.

"I look at it as my ministry," Hickman said.

But these aren't days of rest. Hickman is hard at work helping his "congregation": the taxpayers of northern Arkansas.

"You have preachers that preach and others that teach, and to me helping people with a tax return is a real pleasure," Hickman said.

Hickman started helping people file their taxes through the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, about 20 years ago. He started believing in the service when he used a paid preparer.

"My tax return got messed up," he said.

Now, Hickman volunteers his time and training to make sure others don't end up in the same boat.

More than 100 people have already filed in Harrison since February 3.

"I come here to file my taxes. I've been doing it for six-to-seven years," said Juliet Buschbom, who lives in Green Forest.

The volunteers are at Eagle West Ministry, 920 Goblin Drive across from Harrison High School, every Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the place is usually packed.

Volunteers say they usually have to stop accepting people at 1 p.m. so they can be done by 3 p.m.

"Since we're low income, it helps us a lot," said Lonna Coffren, who lives in Berryville.

There are some restrictions on who they can help, but generally they take people who make less than $56,000 a year.

"I'm very thankful for them that are here," Buschbom said.

Most people Hickman helps are retired. Few young people come in, but they're certainly welcome.

"They use computers in school and all," Hickman said. "They're familiar with it. And the fact the IRS provides free online tax programs. So the younger generation is now doing their own."

But overall the people who do come in to get help say they are thankful to the volunteers and are happy they don't need to pray for an audit-free return.

"I think most of the people are very appreciative because it's a free service," Hickman said.

If you're interested in volunteering, you can contact Arlon Hickman at (870) 391-5978 or Vickie Martin at (870) 688-9592. Volunteers go through a two-week training beforehand.