Is Warwick ready to barter? On Dec. 3, about 25 people showed up for a meet and greet at the Seligmann Estate in Sugar Loaf to discuss forming a time bank. A time bank is a barter system in which the currency is hours: you give an hour, say, driving a senior to the grocery store, and you get an hour of help chainsawing a tree that came down in your yard. In the process, neighbors get to know each other and community is strengthened.
The three-hour social was hosted by four women from Occupy Orange NY. Occupy’s Gloria “Glo” Bonelli, of Goshen, wielded some sort of percussion bar, which she sounded when it was time to break up into smaller groups or reconvene into a large circle. The conversation was not entirely idealistic. People brought up some very real-world concerns, like that plowing a driveway takes closer to five minutes than an hour, but is probably worth more like an hour than five minutes of reciprocal time. And who pays for the gas? (That’s easy: the person whose driveway is being plowed.) One honest soul volunteered the observation that this meeting was too long.
Tim Dalton, coordinator of the West Milford Time Bank, shared some of what he’d learned since that network formed in the spring of 2011. Getting together as a group is critical, for one. Dalton’s time bank has a regular potluck, and occasionally they get together into a “cash mob,” where a group floods a local store and everyone spends at least $20.
Up front was a sheet where people could express interest in various positions like ambassador, webmaster and coordinator. If the time bank is going to materialize, these will be the people who make it happen.