QUESTION: I received in the mail last night a 2019 Census Test. It’s from the U.S. Census Bureau. A letter inside says “The Census Bureau conducts this important 10-minute survey to help make the 2020 Census easier, more convenient and less costly.” The envelope says “Your response is required by law.” ....So, I went online and looked this up. From what I found, something like 480K households in the U.S. were sent this Census Test. And mine was one of them. How many other households in East Texas received the Census Test? I was concerned it was a scam, but it seems to be legit.
A: It is indeed legitimate, but you and I apparently don’t have the super-double-secret-clearance-for-only-really-important-people needed for me to get an answer to your question. The Census Bureau was super nice as it beat around the bush to say in so many words that it would not answer this question. Here’s what the agency said when I inquired about this.
“The Census Bureau mailed out letters on June 13 to respondents for a nationwide 2019 Census Test to measure self-response rates and possible operational impacts of a citizenship question being included on the 2020 Census.
Approximately 480,000 housing unit addresses included in the test will help fine-tune the planning for the 2020 Census Nonresponse Followup operation, which is designed to collect responses from addresses that do not self-respond. It will also inform the Integrated Partnership and Communications Campaign, which is the outreach campaign to maximize self-response to the 2020 Census.
As a federal statistical agency, it is important to maintain a neutral testing environment so we are limiting certain details about the 2019 Census Test. The test will span nine weeks. Similar to the 2020 Census, those who receive the survey will be able to respond online, by phone, or by mail. Additionally, households will also be able to get help over the phone.
We take pride in our mission and are always striving to serve our country better. With research and innovation, we will continue to provide quality data about America’s people, places and economy. We encourage those selected for the 2019 Census Test to participate because you have the power to shape your future with the 2020 Census.”
Q: I have a sofa that will convert into a bed and two chairs, but I cannot find anyone that needs them. I would like to give them to a needy group.
A: I have a few suggestions. (Please don’t consider this an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are others.)
I’ll start with Family Promise of Longview. This is a network of churches that provides housing to homeless families and other assistance to help them get back on their feet. It’s possible your used furniture could help one of those families as they move on to self-sufficiency. Give the organization’s office a call to find out if it can use what you have. You’d have to be able to transport it to Family Promise’s storage facility. The number to call is (903) 234-8343. (A not-so-little side note: Family Promise issued an urgent request for monetary donations a couple of weeks ago. Donations are way down and Family Promise of Longview is in danger of closing. If you’d like to donate money to help, visit www.familypromiseoflongview.com .)
The Caring and Sharing Center at 2303 S. Mobberly Ave. has some restrictions on what it can accept in terms of furniture because it doesn’t have a sprinkler system, but the organization can take wooden chairs, chests of drawers — things that don’t have stuffing in them. (That’s according to Janice Bunt, who helps run the center with her husband, Jerry.) The Caring and Sharing Center is mainly a food pantry but it does also help clients with household items and clothing. Donations are accepted 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
The Longview Dream Center, another organization that helps struggling families and individuals, also accepts furniture, household items, clothing and food. Food and clothing are distributed for free, and the organization runs a thrift store selling other items. Donations are accepted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 803 Gilmer Road. This organization also will pick up large furniture donations Saturdays. Give the Longview Dream Center at call at (903) 653-1740.