Blog

COMMUNITY CUPBOARD NEWS

We were gathered at the Abbey, several TimeBankers and a few old gals who are interested in joining. I mentioned our Community Cupboard program. You know, the sharing economy devices where people can take what they need and leave what they can spare.

One of the old gals asked, very sweetly, “Don’t the homeless people just take it all?”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. Would there be something wrong with a homeless person taking food from a Community Cupboard?

Lots of feelings come up for me as a Cupboard host. It reveals my own biases and wish-to-control and willingness to engage in generosity.

I get cynical when a person in a new, expensive car drives up and takes a bunch of food. It’s twisted that someone comfortably well-off still feels so entitled. There’s a point on the SES scale where you just get to give. No mooching!

HOW TO NON-COOPERATE

 

Here’s my question: Are local businesses and government bodies doing enough to adapt to climate change?

 

Climate change solutions seem out of reach for us as individuals. Yet citizen’s initiatives and grassroots programs are cited in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act and in every local Climate Action Plan.

What is the most efficacious role for NGOs and citizens? How can we work with local authorities to lower GHG emissions?

The food we waste releases 4.4 gigatons of GHGs into the atmosphere each year, eight percent of total anthropogenic emissions.

TimeBank Santa Cruz promotes Bokashi Composting because it is a simple, highly efficacious method for collecting and sequestering CO2 in the soil. It is a solution that doesn’t require a huge capital infusion or industry investments. It could do with some official support, however.

Remember when I stopped paying my Greenwaste bill two and a half years ago to protest Capitola’s reluctance to address climate change?

BAKING FOR THE POOR

Are you baking a bit these days? How about setting aside a portion to contribute to the Community Cupboard? (It's located at 1973 42nd Avenue.) I put in some surplus choc chip cookies and pumpkin pie recently. There's always extra when you bake, no? Please put baked goods in ziplock bags or other sealed containers.

The Cupboard has been operating now for FIVE months and is very well used. Thanks to all who share their bounty.

The TimeBank has just installed its second Cupboard at 421 Continental on the West Side. TimeBankers use their carpentry skills to put the Cupboards together and help the homeowner install them.

Interested in helping with this Food Security project? Join the TimeBank. We're committed to addressing the two major issues of our time - climate change and income inequality.

Did you know that diverting wasted food from the landfills is in SB 1383, California's Global Warming Solutions Act? Because it decreases GHG emissions, particularly methane. 

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

We know you’re sitting back cosy and content in this not-so-busy time of year and considering what your New Year’s resolutions will be. How about you resolve to help others on a regular basis?

What would your life be like if you woke up each morning and thought, “What can I give today? Who can I help?” Would you yourself be happier, more secure? I dare say you would, simply because whenever you take the focus off your own self-interest, happiness naturally increases.

Timebanking creates opportunities for you to help others regularly. Joining the TimeBank would be a perfect way to keep a ‘helping others regularly’ resolution.

We need folks who can cut hair and do nails. We need massage therapists. We need folks who are good with the elderly, who have time to chat and listen, who can do little errands and chores like light gardening and housekeeping. We need techies, graphic designers, website managers. We need folks with a truck and a strong back to move stuff. Handy people, resourceful folks with practical skills to share. You name it.

OUR COOL PROJECT

We just accomplished a cool project: nine TimeBankers assembled and delivered a whole bunch of yummy food to fifteen of our elderly members: quiches, turkey meatloaf, potato casserole, cheddar biscuits, cornbread, soup, garlic bread, apple streusel, oatmeal fruit bars, peanut butter cookies. Yes, I know, we thought it was too much, enough food for three days. But the recipients loved having food ahead for a few days.

One of our younger members - Abbey Anderson - is quite the foodie. She turned a fridge full of very uninspired leftovers into two quintessentially delicious soups. Some chefs just have that alchemy gene, I guess.

Alchemy is a main modus operandi of timebanking: taking the ordinary offerings of regular folks and making something good and great out of them.

This meals project was so much fun, we're thinking to make it a regular habit.  Next round we’ll do during that dead week after Christmas. The menu so far: chili and bacon/spinach quiche, veggie pot pies, mini apple pies.

Our recipients are TimeBank members who live alone and are quite elderly or ill or injured. These folks generally are uninspired by meal prep.

2017 IN THE TIMEBANK

We’re in that Report To The Board time of year. Here’s what we’ve been up to in 2017.

We have seventy-nine current members. Forty-five enrolled in the last 12 months.

Activity: Forty-one exchanges took place in the last month. That’s ~500 exchanges per year. We’re going to keep track of this number month-by-month in future to gauge seasonal use. I’ve been match-making full-on this year, making sure each Request gets filled, if possible. It’s made the TB much livelier.

Classes: Bokashi Compost, Graywater, How To Install a Community Cupboard, Home Maintenance Skills, Monarch Butterflies, Kombucha Making, Cyber Security, Beekeeping, Bike Repair, Advance Directives.

WHAT A TALENTED BUNCH OF PEOPLE

The TimeBank holds a lot of talent. Our members are artists and musicians. Nurses and electrical engineers. Teachers, social workers, therapists, body workers. We have a veterinarian and a veterinarian nurse. A horse trainer.

We have several of those skillful home repair people who can fix just about anything. We have quilters and salsa dancers and writers and graphic designers.  We have folks who love to cook. (They prepare meals for other members.)

We have people with nonprofit admin and human resources skills. People who help you declutter. Who post your notices to community bulletin boards. Who teach art, French, crochet and how to make chocolate truffles.

We love to showcase what our members do in the greater world.

Here is an example: Cellist Aude Castagna of the Paris String Quartet is CELEBRATING WOMEN COMPOSERS OF THE PAST with two upcoming concerts.

Peace United Church,  Thursday Nov 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Christ Lutheran Church,  Sunday Nov 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Tickets are $25, children/students $10

WHAT IS YOUR SOCIAL CAPITAL QUOTIENT?

What do we really know about social capital. The TimeBank’s goal is to grow it. But how do we quantify it? And what is its value?

I’ve noticed recently that we each have a certain store of social capital within the TimeBank itself. Let’s call it a Social Capital Quotient. I suppose it’s determined by the contributions a TimeBanker makes to the organization as a whole - participating, coming to events, sharing skills, being a member in good standing.

This is a measurement wholly different from the number of TimeCredits accrued or exchanged.

TimeBankers also have SCQs with other members. There may be a history of exchanges, a growing acquaintanceship. There may have been challenges that caused the Quotient to sink.

I’m becoming aware that TimeBankers also have SCQs with me, the Director and Coordinator. I’ve noticed that a SCQ (on a scale of 1-10, say) can soar to great heights or it can dip into the negative double digits. A SCQ is a fluid animal in the ecosystem of human dynamics.

SEEKING SPECIFIC SKILL SETS

 

 

 

The TimeBank is seeking sign up a few new members with a couple of specific skills: We especially need someone who can do tech support for Mac users. And we need someone with a truck who is willing to do dump runs and the hauling of heavy objects. Members need to be available to each other three hours per month.

We’re currently signing up lots of new elders in their 80s and 90s who need a helping hand. Are you available to give occasional rides to appointments, errands, to the library? Could you do some light housekeeping and laundry? Please step up. If everyone does their bit, all needs can be met.

Can you cut hair? Do massage, teach yoga or Tai Chi? Do you know how to make salves and lotions, candles, wreaths, quilts, preserves? We’re always looking for resourceful folks with practical skills to share.

HEDGEROWS

Let’s talk about kinship. Do you have a sense of kinship with others? Who does it extend to? Those who are lovely as well as the despicable ones? Where does your heart draw the line? I think it’s a fundamental question.

When I first started working as a community organizer ten years ago, I was quite the recluse. I didn’t even like to hang out in my front yard because, horrors, I might be compelled to make small talk with a passerby.

Now I have a Little Library and Poetry Box at my curb as well as the TimeBank’s FarmStand and the Community Cupboard. These resilience building devices draw people to the edge of my property, to the edge of my awareness.

I’ve gotten better at small talk: I’ve learned to weather interactions with all manner of folks. More significantly, however, these hedgerow activities (as permaculture would call it) have changed how I perceive myself. Now I’m known in my neighborhood. I belong. I am a factor, a feature, an actor in an ecosystem. Because this hedgerow culture generally creates goodwill, I feel protected.

Pages