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January Potluck Recap

January 16, 2012
by anna moschovakis

Great big thanks to Denise and Tom Warren from Stone and Thistle Farm for hosting yesterday’s potluck/info session! And thanks to everyone who showed up bearing all that great food.

Despite the freezing temps and an ill-timed power outage (mitigated by a roaring fire and lots of passive solar heat streaming through the windows), we had a healthy turnout, including 25 potential new members.

Please continue to spread the word! We’ll have another potluck next month.

After a basic explanation of how time banking works, there were questions, some of which we could answer and some of which are going to require further research.

Among those we could answer were:

Q. Once I’ve posted an OFFER or REQUEST, do I have to keep checking the site in order to see if someone’s responded, or is there an email alert system.
A. When you set up your profile, sign up for email alerts, and all responses to your postings, as well as OFFERS and REQUESTS that are relevant to your selected categories, will automatically come to your email box.

Q. The main interface is on the website, but what if I don’t use the internet much? Can I still participate?
A. Yes! Ask someone to help you sign up (one of the CT admins can do this, or another member). When you set up your profile, include your phone number and mention that you prefer to be contacted by phone. When you post your listings for OFFERS or REQUESTS (which you will need to do online, though you can also ask an administrator to do it for you), specify that you wish to be contacted by phone, and include your number. That way, when another member is ready to take you up on your offer or request, you’ll be called on the phone instead of receiving an email alert.

Q. Catskills Time members are allowed to go 25 hours into debt. What happens if I agree to do work for someone, but he or she is too in debt to pay me for it?
A. When you accept a “bid” from another member (the equivalent of “hiring” someone for a job), you will see his or her balance and if it’s close to -25, you may want to bring up the subject. If you do get into a situation where somebody can’t pay you for the work you have done, contact an administrator and we can issue the hours to you ourselves.

Many of the other questions that came up are already listed on our F.A.Q. page.

There were some trickier questions, as well. We will follow up on these as we find out more:

Q. What about liability? If someone is doing a job for me and she slips and falls, can she sue me?
A. The best way we can respond to this is to say that this is a good-faith community and we hope that we will treat each other as friends and use good judgment when taking on a potentially risky task. In the eyes of the government, Time Banking is equivalent to charity work or volunteer service. So whatever behaviors pertain to working with a volunteer would also pertain to this. We will look into this further, but all we can say is that the issue of lawsuits has not prevented dozens of time banks across the country from happily functioning for decades.

Q. I am a licensed nurse. I’d like to participate in the time bank, but I’m not sure what my liability would be.
A. Many time banks are focused specifically on health and wellness, including hospice care and wellness visits. We will follow up on this question, which is very important since healthcare professionals are extremely valuable members of a time bank. The New York Times has been covering healthcare-related time banks recently, one focusing on New York City and one about a time bank in Vermont.

We’ll keep answering your questions and posting new ones to the F.A.Q. page. In the meantime, welcome new members!