Time bank group shares services, promotes community

Gracie Gadeberg of Stewartstown photographs Nicole Montanarelli of New Park at Southern YMCA in Shrewsbury  (Photo by Kate Penn)

Gracie Gadeberg of Stewartstown photographs Nicole Montanarelli of New Park at Southern YMCA in Shrewsbury (Photo by Kate Penn)

There are times when we all wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.

Between working, helping kids with homework, keeping the house reasonably clean and getting food on the table, when on earth are you going to get the lawn in shape or clean out those gutters? And it can be time-consuming and costly to find a trusted handyman — or woman — to pay for the job.

That’s where The York County Time Bank comes in. The York County Time Bank is a local group that allows its members to “bank” an hour of their time helping another member. Members can then cash in that hour to get help with needed tasks.

Founder Gracie Gadeberg of Hopewell Township was inspired after watching a TV documentary about a time-banking group in Portland, Maine.

Nicole Montanarelli is part of The York County Time Bank.

Nicole Montanarelli is part of The York County Time Bank.

“I saw there was nothing local,” she said. So Gadeberg started The York County Time Bank.

The group has about 55 members, with a lot of stay-at-home moms, said Gadeberg. Members offer a variety of services, such as massage therapy, yoga instruction, nanny services and housework.

But there’s more to time banking than just getting a task accomplished.

By helping other members, it strengthens ties to neighbors and fosters friendships.

In today’s busy world, that can mean a lot.

“That’s a good feeling,” said Gadeberg. “We feel too disconnected from people. Everyone has something to offer; it makes the world a better place.”

Hours spent helping others are tracked on a software program created by hOurWorld, a national network of time banks. Members can bank as many hours as they want and get two free hours for signing up.

Gadeberg stressed that time banking is not a barter system.

“It’s not one-to-one,” she said. “You can offer a service to somebody and receive a service from somebody completely different.”

York County Time Bank member Erin Shrader, a nurse care manager at WellSpan Bridges to Health, which works with chronically ill patients, said time banking is a big help to vulnerable ­people.

Through time banking, patients “can get assistance from neighbors with the things that they cannot manage themselves,” she said. In return, caregivers can bank hours toward other services.

Eventually, Gadeberg would like to organize an event, such as a potluck or fence-building event, in order to get more people involved and to build the local time-banking community.

Time-banking services

The York County Time Bank had 55 members and had exchanged almost 50 hours of service as of early August.

For more information, call 620-714-1948 or visit www.yorkcountytimebank.wordpress.com.

A few of the services offered by the group

    Arts and crafts
    Beauty/cosmetic/spa
    Business/office services
    Classes/lessons/tutoring
    Cooking
    Gardening/yard
    Transportation
    Help in the home
    Photography
    Sewing

How to start a time bank

Time banking, also known as a service exchange, is a concept that’s been around since the early 1980s. hOurWorld provides support to 107 time banks across the United States.

Interested in starting a time bank in your area? Here’s how:

Recruit a leadership team
Pull together a small group of committed people and make use of their skills, such as networking, working with computers, fundraising, bookkeeping, etc.

Establish a group vision
Exchange ideas about how you would like your group to function and who it would help. Are there major needs in your community, such as unemployment, transportation or medical care?

Locate an office space
Find a site to donate a dedicated office space, such as a place of worship, a social service agency or an empty storefront.

Explore software demos
Software will help you track members’ hours.

Raise start-up funds
This will accomplish two things: A personal investment by the core group will deepen bonds, and public marketing will stimulate interest for your program within the community.

­— Source: hOurworld

Frequently asked questions

Is exchanging the same as barter?
No. Barter is based on the cash economy in a one-to-one relationship. Example: a plumber and carpenter agree to each provide $1,000 worth of work on each other’s homes — that’s the cash world. In the Exchange Economy, the services are based on time, not cash. Each service hour is valued the same and they are exchanged within a network, not one to one.

Can one go into debt?
Sure, although member policies are created by each local exchange, all allow debt. We recommend capping member debt at 25 hours. The same is true with credit. If one is only earning time, and not spending time, then there is no flow.

What if the service I want isn’t listed?
Go find someone to provide that service. Recruit that skill, and the next skill provider, and the next one. This will enrich your service menu for everyone!

What if I’m not satisfied with the service offered?
Example: I didn’t like my haircut.
What would you do if you paid cash for that haircut? Same thing. Talk to the provider. Express your opinion, work out a solution. Treat the situation the same as you would in the cash economy.

­— Source: hOurworld

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