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Sustainable Jefferson County introduces new ‘Time Bank’

By Staff | Jul 28, 2017

Chronicle photo by Vanessa McGuigan Diane Blust, from Sustainable Jefferson County, speaks to the SAIL brown bag lunch attendees.

Diane Blust, of Sustainable Jefferson County – formerly Sustainable Shepherdstown, spoke at last Friday’s Shepherdstown Area Independent Living (SAIL) brown bag lunch.

Based on the concept of neighbors helping neighbors, the time bank is a way for people in the community to help each-other. Members who join agree to give and receive services in a minimum of one-hour increments, which are all viewed as equal services, regardless of the nature of the act. For example, a person giving his neighbor a ride to the doctor’s office is banked the same as an hour of work in a neighbor’s garden.

To earn time credit, you must do an hour of service for another Jefferson Community Time Bank member or member organization. To spend a time credit, you must have a Jefferson Community Time Bank member complete an hour of service for you.

Time banking isn’t a new concept, but it has gained more momentum in recent years. Edgar Cahn, who began the concept of the time bank more than 25 years ago believes that it is a concept of hope and possibility, a way to prohibit market price from becoming a monopoly, thereby making it a more inclusive and equitable economic system.

“It’s a way to share experiences, build community, meet our neighbors, without having an exchange of money,” said Blust, who was formerly head of the Reston, Virginia Time Bank before moving to West Virginia.

There are currently 49 members of the Jefferson County Time Bank who offer services such as airport rides, tutoring, massage, voice lessons, gardening and more.

“It’s a person to person exchange,” Blust said. “Of course you have to use discretion when having someone provide a service for you, but we mostly all know each-other and we all want to work for the common good.”

The mission of Sustainable Jefferson County is to foster a vibrant local community, promote environmental awareness, reduce the use of fossil fuels and serve as an example of sustainable living.

For more information or to sign up to be part of the time bank, visit www.sustainablejeffersoncounty.org and click on the “Time Bank” tab.