I heard about this “time bank” in the Portland area (Maine) through the February/March 2012 edition of AARP. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Portland, Maine was already on board with this fantastic idea. It’s a place where you can log hours of service (like cleaning, gardening, or creating web-sites) and then swap the time (hour-for-hour) for services that you need, like a ride to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, or get groceries, even get help with your taxes or wedding plans… you decide how you want to spend your credit-hours. Here’s an excerpt from the http://www.HourExchangePortland.org website.
“The Hour Exchange empowers individuals, organizations and businesses to help each other meet their needs cash-free in one-to-one exchanges and group projects… Help your neighbors and earn time-credits that can be used to receive services you need from any member. In the Hour Exchange, everyone’s time is equal no matter what the service and there are hundreds of services available. Over the years our members have exchanged over 150,000 hours of service and provided over 25,000 hours of free health care. In 2010, our members were able to weatherize nearly 100 homes and got tickets to dozens of performing arts shows. Join Hour Exchange Portland, and begin exchanging today. Don’t forget to friend us on facebook! Hour Exchange Portland is a member-led community service exchange. Member Leaders use their time and skills to help grow and sustain the Hour Exchange.” via Hour Exchange Portland – Maine community service time bank.
And this excerpt from AARP:
“In Maine, Hour Exchange’s collaboration with area practitioners has also provided more than 25,000 hours of health care services to uninsured and low-income members.” One member “received about $2,000 in health care services in exchange for time-credits she earned doing yard work, cleaning houses, and helping members de-clutter. The experience helped to make her a smarter consumer–whether spending time-credits or cash.”
I think more communities need to jump on board this idea… in this economy, it’s the smartest thing going… and it’s all tax free!