Summer Potluck Social

We had a wonderful crowd for our summer potluck social at the Cissel-Saxon American Legion Post 41 on Sunday, August 11 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. It was a terrific opportunity to meet other timebank members and enjoy some delicious dishes, including extra yummy desserts.

We were thrilled to discover the American Legion Post 41 as a location for gathering and they have already become a member of the Timebank. Stay tuned for information about our next social for the holidays!

Sewing and Craft Supplies Swap

I love finding half-done projects, and I love bringing mine.  It's exciting to know that someone else will finish the project and get to wear the dress.  -Tanya 

I found a book on drawing animals I can use with my art kids. Every six weeks, we do a different animal.  -Tina

This is fabulous.  I found some yarn I can use to help my mother's church.  They make prayer shawls.  Anyone can come and take one, for any reason.  So they have to have a lot of them. -Kendra

I'm ahead of the game:  I'm taking only one bag of stuff with me, but I brought two here.  Also, I've managed not to take any of my own things back with me!  -Eileen 

I found a cake cookbook -- one cake for each state in the U.S., with the recipes and the history of each cake.  I might give this to my mom, but I'll spend some time looking at it first.  -Andrea

I just wanted to get rid of my stuff and not get more, but I did pick up some things for other people.  I found these wooden knitting needles that my aunt likes.  They're very hard to find.  -Emma 

I found the wherewithal to reupholster my ottoman, and I got a fabric here that will go with what I have at home -- or close enough.  I also found a couple of upholstery supply items that will help me do the reupholstering.  -Connie 

Here are some darning eggs, but even if you don't take one, you can do your darning, using a lightbulb instead.  -Mary 

I found stuff for my office and for my own art, along with every other project I have EVER considered.  -Donna 

The fun of this starts when I go through everything at home to decide what to bring.  I hope to find materials for card-making which helps me feel creative even though I'm not artistic.  -Kendra

I came because I was the mule to carry my wife's silk screening and reupholstery materials she was donating.  But I found the one thing I wanted -- this small pallette knife for doing my oil painting.  -Joe 

I'm collecting these seashells.  I play with them at home.  Some of these I don't even have!  But I need a lot of shells so I can have fun.  -Sofia 

I came here looking for 1-inch elastic and a zipper.  I found them right away.  So now I get to look at kids' stuff.  -Aisha

I found some yarn to make a baby blanket for a friend's baby.  It means so much to make it yourself.  When I had my daughter, I was given a home-made blanket.  We got about ten others that are nice, but that one is special.  I know she was thinking about us the whole time she was making it.  So now I'll do that for my friend.  -Olga 

I am a winner:  I've been thinking of making a DK Tweed sweater for a long time, and look at all the yarn I found for it!  I also took some acrylic for a friend at church who makes hats for the homeless.  -Mary

I'm glad someone will do something with the stuff I brought, rather than leaving it sitting in my closet.  And now I'm just looking at things, hoping to find nothing to bring back to my closet!  -Claire 

I found this yarn to give to my mom for her hospital-baby knitting group.  -Kathy

This will be very useful for me, this covered bead tray.  I got three.  I use them for my jewelry and other things I don't want to get dusty.  I also got this Vogue pattern that I'm excited about.  -Julia 

The first thing I'll do is make a mess in my basement while I spread out everything out and go through it.  I have some really nice goodies here.  I make hats from felt, and I'll make my own felt from this yarn.  -Pat  

I'm hearing a lot of people talking about the psychological and other benefits of these swaps:  It takes such a load off, to clear these things out and know that they're going to be used by someone else.  Plus there's the charge people get from bringing home something new to them.  And I'm always glad to see that the swap attracts people from all different socioeconomic levels in the community.  And then there's CREATE Arts Center which will get all the materials that people haven't taken.  This is how we can help those served by another group while also making that group more visible in the community through our event.  -Jonathan 

Garden Tool Repair Cafe at the GreenFest was a big hit

The 5th annual Montgomery County GreenFest was held on Sunday, April 28 at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton. The theme of this event was simple, yet powerful: Where the County comes together, learns together and takes action together! It was also Brookside Garden’s 50th birthday and Earth Day: talk about the perfect combo! Thousands of residents, and a few from overseas, arrived in droves to participate in the celebrations and the atmosphere bursted with energy.

In the same spirit of community service, the Silver Spring Timebank set up shop in the atrium with a Garden Tool Repair Café. Attendees were welcomed with a warm and friendly smile from greeters who engaged them in talking about the timebank and how they could join our growing community. The repair team included five timebank members who were armed with equipment to sharpen, lubricate, and shine tools such as grass shears, mattocks, and loppers to name a few. They also shared tips on aftercare to make sure the tools had maximum shelf life.

The traffic flowed and had peak times but that didn’t faze our garden tool experts; they multitasked so perfectly that it one could only wonder if this is what Santa’s workshop looks like! 

All in all, it was a great turnout and a true partnership in serving the Montgomery County community.

Many thanks to SSTB members Anisa Yusuf for writing this article and to Saunya Connelly for organizing all the SSTB volunteers for this event.

Silver Spring Timebank in The Washington Post!

I like giving the gift of time’: Time banks build economies — and communities — without the almighty dollar

Susan Alexander, left, brings passengers Mary and Al Liepold to Reagan National Airport. All three are members of the Silver Spring Time Bank. (Justin Wm. Moyer/The Washington Post)

Susan Alexander, left, brings passengers Mary and Al Liepold to Reagan National Airport. All three are members of the Silver Spring Time Bank. (Justin Wm. Moyer/The Washington Post)

By Justin Moyer, April 26

On a recent spring morning, Susan Alexander left her Maryland home, climbed into her Volkswagen Passat and drove about three miles to pick up two strangers. She battled rush-hour traffic on the Capital Beltway and George Washington Memorial Parkway before dropping them off curbside at Reagan National Airport.

She didn’t earn a dime for her trouble, and that was the point.

There and back, the trip took about 90 minutes — worth about $40 if Alexander, a retired government intelligence analyst, were an Uber driver. Instead, she’s a member of the Silver Spring Time Bank — one of more than 100 such exchanges around the world trying to build community by exchanging time credits for services instead of dollars and cents.

“I have time,” she said. “I like giving the gift of time to other people.”

Though some communities have experimented with local currency, most time banks offer an alternative, powered by 21st-century technology, to the U.S. dollar. About 70 exist across the country — some with a few members, others with hundreds — to give value to work that members say often goes uncompensated in a traditional market economy.

In Alexander’s case, passengers Mary and Al Liepold were grateful for the ride, but it wasn’t charity. Mary, a retired writer and editor for nonprofit organizations, used time credits she banked for editing work and baking. Senior citizens who don’t drive, the Liepolds cashed in their credits to catch a flight to Montreal for a five-day vacation.

Without money changing hands or shifting between virtual accounts, the airport drop-off was more like a coffee klatch than a taxi ride. Driver and passengers chatted about projects they’ve completed for the time bank, and no one raised an eyebrow when Mary said she likes “to avoid the conventional economy.”

The beauty of this is that you make friends,” Mary Liepold said. “You don’t just get services.”

The Silver Spring Time Bank formed in 2015 and has about 300 members, said co-founder Mary Murphy. Last year, she said, 1,000 hours were exchanged for basic home repairs, dog walking, cooking and tailoring, among other services, without the exchange of money.

“You get to save that money that you would have spent,” she said. “You get to meet somebody else in your community and get to know that person. That’s a bonus that’s part of an exchange.”

A transaction performed partly to make friends would seem to go against classical economics and one of Benjamin Franklin’s most memorable chestnuts: “Time is money.” To those at the forefront of modern time-banking, that’s the appeal.

Edgar S. Cahn, an 84-year-old law professor at the University of the District of Columbia who had worked on civil rights and anti-poverty legislation in president Lyndon B. Johnson’s Justice Department, suffered a heart attack in 1980. He said doctors gave him two years to live, with “maybe two good hours a day.”

“I thought: What do I do with two good hours a day?” he said, having beaten doctors’ expectations by nearly four decades. “I have to teach people to value themselves.”

Cahn became a proselytizer for what he called the “time dollar” — a currency in which an hour of work is worth an hour of work, whether it’s performed by a maid, a mechanic or a mechanical engineer. In 1995, he founded the D.C. nonprofit TimeBanks USA, which developed the software used by many time banks around the world. (The organization charges time banks a one-time $79 start-up fee in actual dollars for the software, and additional fees of about $3 per member each year.)

Cahn said worthy services are routinely completed with no compensation in the market economy, pointing to a 2014 RAND Corporation study that valued informal caregiving for elderly Americans at more than $500 billion a year. Using time as currency “values what it means to be a human,” he said.

“We’re all trained as human service professionals: ‘How can I help you?’ ” he said. “None of us is trained to say: ‘How can you make a difference?’ I need you as much as you need me.”

While the world is unlikely to shift to an international time credit economy, hours have been exchanged in time banks in at least seven countries, including South Korea, New Zealand and France, according to the TimeBanks USA website.

One of the most-active time banks in the United States is the Crooked River Alliance of Timebanks, based in Kent, Ohio. Started in 2010, the alliance has 1,200 members in five branches that have facilitated more than 70,000 hours of exchanges, according to Abby Greer, its founder and director.

“I’m the Bill Gates of time banks,” she said.

Greer said time banks can serve as small-business incubators and a way for seniors to remain active after retirement. They also put value on work that’s not traditionally compensated, like homemaking, she said.

“Everyone’s time is equal,” Greer said. “It changes your thinking about money, wealth, community and knowing your neighbors. All these things have been lost in the past 100 years. The time bank is bringing them back.”

Time banks have also saved their members money.

Alexander, who shuttled the Liepolds to the airport, was giving back after recently spending her time credits to have her home thermostat replaced. She estimated an electrician would charge more than $100 for the job, but fellow timebanker Don Slater, a former NASA engineer turned National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contractor, finished the job in about 30 minutes.

Despite his credentials, Slater, 68, called the wage differential between lower-paid jobs and jobs like his former one “ridiculous.”

“We train for different things, we follow different paths,” he said. “While one may be much more visible than the other — more stressful than the other — it doesn’t make it any less important or less significant.”

As Alexander drove 12 miles back home to Takoma Park, Md., after dropping off the Liepolds, she said the trip wasn’t about profit margins, but the promise of future contact.

“It was funny — we hugged goodbye,” she said. “I’ve never met these people before, but it feels like we’re part of the same family.”

Save the Date: April 28 for our Garden Tool Repair Cafe at the Montgomery County GreenFest

As part of the Montgomery County GreenFest the Silver Spring Timebank will be hosting a Garden Tool "Repair Cafe" .

Sunday, April 28 from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Brookside Gardens
1800 Glenallen Avenue, Wheaton

Members of the Silver Spring Timebank will be on-hand to help clean, sharpen, and repair garden hand tools such as pruners, hedge clippers, trowels, and weeders. No electric or gas-powered tools, please.

Bring in your tools for a tune-up and lesson on garden tool maintenance.

This event is FREE and open to the public. Shuttle service is available from Glenmont Metro. We hope Timebank members will attend to support this wonderful community event!