The newly formed Eastside Timebank is kicking off its Bellevue and Redmond programs, offering people a way to connect to barter for services by earning and spending time dollars instead of cash.
Residents of the Eastside can sign up at the Eastside Timebank Website to offer their skills and request services they need, ranging from dog-walking to public relations work or construction, all of which are exchanged at equal value based on time spent.
In other words, if you earn a timebank hour by providing a service to another member, you are eligible to receive a timebank hour of work in exchange, says Cindy Jayne, the administrator and one of two part-time staff members running the day-to-day operations of the Timebank.
“The purpose is to build more resilient communities,” Jayne says. “It works for the general population, for the underemployed and unemployed, and it works for the elderly who might want to stay in their homes” but need some help, she says. She says the possible services that can be exchanged are intentionally broad, so anyone with a skill to offer can participate.
The concept has been growing in popularity nationwide, with more than 100 Timebanks throughout the U.S., and the effort here has been launched in cooperation with the cities of Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond, and with funding from agencies such as Hopelink.
“The cities have been very engaged,” Jayne says. She says the initial steering committee was seeking ways to help people here who were affected by the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, and to help organizations continue to provide human services at a time when their funding sources were impacted.
Launched in Kirkland in December, the Timebank has nearly reached its goal of 100 members already, with 70 signed up in Kirkland, Jayne says.
“We’ve revised our goal to 200 members” in the first year, Jayne says. The program is planning an informational meeting in Bellevue, at the 4063 148th Ave. NE, on Thursday, March 31, at 7 p.m. That event will serve to launch the Bellevue and Redmond programs, though people can start registering for the program now, Jayne says. The cost for an individual to join is $40, or $70 for a family; organizational members pay based on their annual revenues.
Though it’s incorporated in Kirkland, the program doesn’t have an office, but rather is accessed via the website. All members undergo a background check and orientation, and the orientations typically are held at the facilities of organizational members, which donate space in exchange for time dollars that they then can use. It’s a member of the Timebanks USA organization as well, Jayne says.
The organization is also seeking Bellevue residents to volunteer on its board, Jayne says. Current board members include Dave Ramsay, former Kirkland city manager, and Dave Asher, a Kirkland city councilman.