Eastside Timebank lets people exchange services for free, build community

When Margaret Schwender broke her ankle a few months ago, she couldn't cook, clean or take care of other household chores that needed to be done. But rather than sit around and watch her post-injury to-do list grow, she utilized the Eastside Timebank to complete these normally easy tasks.

When Margaret Schwender broke her ankle a few months ago, she couldn’t cook, clean or take care of other household chores that needed to be done.

But rather than sit around and watch her post-injury to-do list grow, she utilized the Eastside Timebank to complete these normally easy tasks.

“It was a blessing because (my injury) was around Easter time and I couldn’t put away my Easter decorations,” said Schwender, a Kirkland resident.

The timebank encompasses individuals, businesses and organizations from Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland.

Schwender and other members of the Eastside Timebank can request and receive services ranging from housework and accounting to computer tutoring and mending and alterations for free in exchange for services and skills of their own.

Schwender offers pet sitting and gardening services for other timebank members to use.

Timebank is fiscally sponsored by Hopelink and in the middle of applying for its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

Linda Benson, vice president of community initiatives at Hopelink, said the sponsorship allows Timebank to utilize Hopelink’s nonprofit status to receive donations, grants and other forms of funding.

While the timebank focuses on the three Eastside cities, Executive Director Joan Eads said members do not necessarily need to be from these cities, adding that they have members from Woodinville, Bothell and Renton as well.

However Eads, who lives in Lake Forest Park, said living outside of the three main cities may make it difficult because most exchanges take place at people’s homes and people are less inclined to travel further distances.

There are about 95 members in Eastside Timebank, Eads said.

With the economic recession, many people are unemployed or underemployed and Eads said there is large pool of untapped talent in the region. Eastside Timebank was formed to address the struggles people were facing during the economic recession, but also to help build a stronger community, according to Eads.

It was this idea that also caught Ed Mills’ interest. The Bellevue resident really liked the community-building aspect and the idea of connecting with others. He said with exchanges and monthly potlucks, local residents have the opportunity to meet new people and socialize, in addition to receiving services.

“You get a lot done that way,” he said, referring to tackling tasks with others.

Mills also liked that credits are tracked by time, so no one service is worth more than another. He said this makes everyone — no matter what service they provide — worth something.

“I like the idea that an hour’s worth an hour,” he said. “We’re all people. … Everybody has something they can do.”

Those interested in joining the operation must attend an orientation with photo identification and provide information for a background check. For more information, visit www.eastsidetimebank.org.

 

Samantha Pak can be reached at spak@redmond-reporter.com or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.

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