Community, It’s a Choice

By Grace Maselli
Community is a lot more than a physical neighborhood, town, city, or state.
Of course, that physicality matters. (It’s easier to pull weeds or dust a timebanker’s ceiling fan in an exchange if that person lives in your proverbial backyard.) But community is also about something arguably even more intimate: identity. Longstanding TBT member Christina Bellamy’s personalized presentation at last month’s Third Tuesday gathering on October 15 opened a dialogue about all this and more. Using timebanking’s “Gathering with a Purpose” model, Christina stirred interactive conversation; she opened up a casual discourse with emphasis on the warmth and connection that characterizes timebanking’s priority, people and their collective and individual value as community members—or as writer Megan Garber wrote a couple of years ago in The Atlantic, “Community…is not merely something that one fits into; it is also something one chooses for oneself, through a process of self-discovery.” 


Christina’s  October 15 talk took a deeper dive—a spelunking exploration into what timebank vibe means to the whole and, to cite Megan Garber again, what it means as part of a journey toward self-discovery. There’s a wealth of motivation to explain why people get involved. Some reasons have are economic. Others have nothing to do with dollars and cents. Because in timebanking, “currency” is measuredearned and spentin timebank hours. And for those on a budget, or with limited and fixed incomes, this can be an exceedingly helpful advantage because we can still get our needs met and also help others in the same way, even when we can’t afford it in greenbacks. For others, there’s motivation to widen the circle of good friends, enriching an experience of community along the way. And for others still, a non-material, spiritual (metaphysical, ineffable, sometimes sacred) energy compels involvement. Sometimes it’s all of the above: a desire to support others, be supported, and know intrinsically that timebanking’s ethos is real and can be felt when we all have a chance to feel valued and offer something in return.

Before the October 15 meeting concluded the group put together a timeline, a visualization depicting how longfrom a few weeks to close to a decade—that each participant was connected to TBT. People took stock of their identities as a growing part of the TBT tribe, an ever-widening kindred connection. If you’re inspired to Gather with a Purpose, download “Gathering Welcome & Introduction” to get rolling and keep the community energy flowing!

It’s Third Tuesday Turkey Time, Bring Your Sweet Potato Casserole and Some Gobble-ish-us!

By Grace Maselli

Hard to believe it’s Turkey Time again! Members and friends, join us at a shared, festive, pre-Thanksgiving potluck table where young and old alike (and everything in between) are whole-heartedly and timebank-style welcome. We’d love to see you in Tampa for this year’s “Friendsgiving” where we’ll be serving up goodies and gratitude. So bring a fun dish to share! Here’s the down-low on the not-so-skinny holiday:

Date Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Time 6:30-8:30+ PM
Address Life Enrichment Center
9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241
Questions? Contact or call (215) 834-4567 and reference our Thanksgiving potluck at LEC


Rings and Blingy Things, Plus Tools

By Grace Maselli

It’s jewelry time. Bring yer stuff. Swap some rings, bracelets, necklaces, baubles. Brooches, gems, treasures, charms.  Join us soon on Tuesday, June 18our Third Tuesday of Every Month member-and-guest meeting and orientation.  We hang out at Tampa’s Life Enrichment Center (LEC). Our Third Tuesdays are part of TBT’s revitalization initiative to dispatch our efforts further into the community.

And, sure, this Third Tuesday, we’ll be a little preoccupied with costume jewelryand even take a crack at some jewelry repair with our needle-nosed pliers and tiny hammers and such. So bring what you have and pitch in. Swap some shiny trinkets. And for the menfolk (and women who are into it), bring your big old corn knife and hay cutter machete. Bring yer fruit scissors and pruning loppers and toss in some stories about how you lopped and carved and ate fruit. Or just bring some pliers to potentially trade. It’s all about connection and fun. And per our prime directive: This month, as always, we’re dedicated to education around our missionexchanges, as explained here in our flyer!


Date Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Time 6:30-8:30 PM
Address LEC: 9704 North Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33612; phone: 813.932.0241
Questions? Contact or call 608.335.2382

Across the Pond

By Grace Maselli

Cheerio. “Grab your brolly, it’s drizzling outside.” Okay, so the timebankers from England who recently visited—Annie and Jennie—didn’t actually use this phrase. But it did drizzle on the ride to the Spring Hill monthly meeting they attended this May, where the two of them chip-chipped in their fantastic British accentstheir groovy, regional UK patois.

They joined TBT members at the home of Spring Hill coordinator Andy LePage’s house, where the monthly orientation meeting for new members and review of regular goings-on was held.

At the gathering (that also involved some timebank transportation “gymnastics” to get the travelers from downtown Tampa to Spring Hill), the lovely Brits talked about all the fun stuff and people they’ve met in their homespun Southern England timebank. One of their stories about a coordinated UK timebank event stood out: The gals’ participation in a collective “yarn bombing,” which this humble blogger had never hoid of before. Here’s what the dictionary has to say about yarn bombing, “The action or activity of covering objects or structures in public places with decorative knitted or crocheted material, as a form of street art.” Specifically, Annie and Jennie and their crew yarn bombed an English bus shelter, festooning it with knitted spring flowers, bubble bees, and all-around fiber energy! Totally inspired.

Zigzagging from Here to There

The pond-hopping got its get-up-and-go with 70-year-old Annie who came to Florida to swim with dolphins. Jennie, a world traveler and professional nurse when she’s not visiting places like Kuala Lumpur, joined Annie for the fun. The pair stayed overnight in Andy’s guest bedroom and the next morning, after a yummy porridge breakfast, yet another Spring Hill timebanker got his exchange motor running and drove the Brits to Orlando where they carried on in the tropical sun. Sooo, TBTers, the story line is timebanking and its ethos crosses continents and oceans, connecting the human spirit wired for contact with other caring peeps.

A Culture of Innovation and Connection

By Grace Maselli

Of course, our TBT and Florida-wide timebank members totally get the value of timebank exchangeswhere everyone’s time is valued equally, no matter the type of doing being done.

Nonetheless, dear reader, you may have also caught wind of what’s rattling the U.S. middle class. According to real data, it’s taking an economic hit to the sternum. For example, in May 2018, the Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy group in Washington, D.C., published an article, “Seven reasons to worry about the American middle class,” where it also referenced the start of its initiative, the Future of the Middle Class and the notion that people are getting banged up in their chase for the American Dream.

Specifically, data points to all things stagnant: “Despite gains in national income over the past half-century, American households in the middle of the distribution have experienced very little income growth in recent decades.” Couple stalled incomes with “falling wages,” and the effect is “fewer Americans are growing up to be better off than their parents.”

Enter Sustainable Lifestyles and the Quest for Plenitude: Case Studies of the New Economy, published by Yale University Press in 2014. In it, the book references the “sharing economy” in the collection’s “Chapter 3, New Cultures of Connection in a Boston Time Bank.” The sharing economy in 2013 dollars was “estimated at 25 percent annually and…predicted to exceed $3.5 billion.” It’s also given rise to “connected consumption” and includes everything from sharing goods and assets between peers and neighbors to “reuse of goods” (carbon footprint reduction) and many things in between, including (drum roll, please), “time banks, which are service-exchange communities that operate without money according to principles of equal time exchange.”

In other words, by virtue of necessity, a timebanker might argue, the squeeze on the middle class has given rise to connectedness. Not to mention, innovation. (You know, the proverbial Mother of Invention phenomenon.) Peeps are renting out their cars (Relay Rides). Their houses (Think Airbnb). And they’re timebanking. The authors of Chapter 3 declare, timebanks are all about forging “informal social ties.” They fit right in, perfectly. “We have found that while the sharing economy is by no means confined to young people [italics, mine], they have been its innovators and early participants. They’re more digitally connected and more open to strangers and lifestyle experimentation,” the authors say. The moral of the story? The 30+ year-old timebanking idea is still capturing the hearts and imaginations of youth culture and way beyond, to align with the “new” sharing economy. Covers Timebanking and “Liquidity” of Daily Tasks

By Grace Maselli

Earlier this month peeled back the layers on “increasingly popular cooperative time banks.” For readers who may not know, Salon.coman online newspaper—started nearly a quarter century ago and self describes as an, “American news and opinion website…publish[ing] articles on U.S. politics, culture, and current events [with] a politically progressive, liberal editorial stance.” The April 6 piece zeros-in on a timebank in Detroit and references beaucoup exchanges including housing sitting, window washing, transportation, and multicultural cooking classes. The writer also delves into the flex that characterizes the timebanking model. In particular, “time is traded throughout a local time banking community, or even throughout the country: For example, you find yourself in another city and need a ride to the airport. You could spend your time banked in your hometown on a ride in the city you’re visiting.” Voila.

The piece likewise references digital time collection through hOurworld and other U.S. timebanks, referencing the variety of top exchanges shared depending on the community and who enjoys doing what. New York City and Baltimore top the hOurworld charts in terms of size; and in Baltimore in particular, emphasis is placed on the system’s ability to enable older adults to continue to live independently in their homes. The article links to Baltimore’s “Partners in Care” that gets to the core of timebank founder Edgar S. Cahn’s aim: “Volunteering is a one-way relationship that is charitable, but not necessarily reciprocal. An economist might say that a time bank creates liquidity in a market for day-to-day tasks that might not be commercially available or affordable to [timebank] members.” Let’s hear it for the flow of daily tasks along with the beauty of two-way relationships.

Let’s Tawk “Exchange”

By Grace Maselli

The life blood of any timebank is its exchanges. What a person offers to another member.
What a person receives. An hour for an hour. When the timing and need sync. No matter if you’re pulling weeds or pulling teeth. Could be a household chore. An errand to the dry cleaners. A visit to someone in the hospital. A meal for their family.

It’s the stuff of caring. Often with meaning way beyond money; rather, it’s about the actions and deeds that thread and join the interdependent fabric of community. Youth—teens—can be involved too. According to the chores list on “VeryWellFamily,” here’s a sampling of what youth might also contribute to their local timebank exchanges:

  • Plant watering
  • Pet feeding
  • Pet walking (and litter box cleaning!)
  • A scrubba dub dub of pets, pets’ things, and cars in driveways
  • Babysitting (complete with chocolate chip cookie baking)


  • Lawn mowing
  • Hoisting and heaving plant cuttings into bags, then tossing bags into appropriate receptacles
  • Light housekeeping for older people
  • Reading/companionship to housebound folks

    So consider getting your teens into the swing of timebank things. Because you never know when the effort can really make a positive difference in someone else’s life. And yoursOpen our TBT timebanking flyer  for more info.