The Quest to End Poverty in America Part 12

Time Banks

    Imagine a fairly standard neighborhood.  Within this neighborhood are businesses, churches, schools and residents.

    The churches take the lead in reaching out to their neighbors.  Pastors would no longer simply be a pastor to those who walk through their doors, but instead would serve as a shepherd for the entire neighborhood.  Most neighborhoods here have multiple churches.  Regardless of denominations pastors could choose to work with other churches on this portion of the community.

    As they get to know their neighborhood businesses and residents they would assess the needs.  The churches could act as a connecting service.  A resident needs a job, they would connect the person to the business.  The business needs employees the churches would connect the residents to the business.  If a resident needed help with a broken appliance.  The church would examine the ranks of their members and connect the expert to the problem.

    Churches would encourage everyone in their neighborhood that they are valuable and can add something to the community.  The residents would be encouraged to work, be employed and serve the neighborhood.

    The churches would also adopt the local school and again provide connections between resources and students.  This might include tutors, school supplies or after school care.  This would also include celebrations of students graduating or preparing to go to college.

    As part of this process the churches would serve as the central connection point for the time bank.  What this looks like is that in the neighborhood is a single mom who is really good at house painting.  She would paint the house of the mechanic down the street who works too many daylight hours to get to the task.  The mechanic buys the paint. The Mechanic fixes the car for the widow around the corner.  Again the widow buys parts but the mechanic puts her car all together.  The widow watches the single moms kids so that it is worthwhile for her to go to work.  Everyone is giving and everyone is receiving.  It won’t always be that clean and some work will be put into the bank to be used at a future time but the church can manage a single neighborhood.

    An important note is that the churches are not to provide all of the resources but rather to serve as a simple connection to the needs.