Sharde Smith holding up the masks she made.
Hello from TimeBanks USA!
We’re writing to thank you for helping us build communities through your donation.
As we step into November and the upcoming U.S. election here in Washington, DC, our faces masked, we look at the unfamiliar landscape we find ourselves in. The world as we’ve known it has changed indeed, the pandemic has impacted our way of living in unforeseen ways. We don’t hug each other, we stay at home. It’s easy to be discouraged by the times we are in… and for how long?
What questions are you asking these days?
For us at TimeBanks USA, that same question arises: what can we do for each other?
In Newburgh, New York, “Together We Can Timebank” Founder, Damian DePauw, has chosen to respond by both empowering and leaning into his community through powerful action. With Damian's permission, we are sharing his story below with you.
“When COVID-19 first hit us here in New York we were the hotspot for the virus. I have people I know who have lost loved ones to this horrible pandemic. It is not like me to sit on my hands if there is an urgent need in my community and I had to do something. At that time, there was a severe shortage of masks for healthcare workers and the CDC was advising that homemade cotton masks were a suitable solution given the emergency. I run another program at IMPACT!, Inc. that is the Newburgh Repair Cafe. At the Newburgh Repair Cafe, I have many ‘repair coaches’ who volunteer to help people fix people's beloved but broken items: bicycles, computers, small appliances, etc... I knew several timebankers and volunteers who have sewing skills as they have helped man the sewing repair station at the Newburgh Repair Cafe to repair ripped articles of clothing and such. So I reached out to some of them and ‘Sewing to Stop the Spread’ was born. Since that time I have recruited over 80 volunteers throughout Orange County, NY and together, we have provided over 8,000 home-made facemasks to people in our area who need them. I travel around Orange County, NY to supply volunteers and timebankers with sewing supplies and sewing machines so they don't have to leave home. I also pick up finished batches of masks and deliver them to organizations who need them.
I started Individuals Making Positive Advancement in their Communities Together, Inc. (IMPACT!, Inc.) because I believe in the power of average, every-day people to make significant changes within their own communities by volunteering or timebanking to help each other and address the broader needs of the community. I have several mini-initiatives that run through Together We Can Timebank. Together We Clean Newburgh, for example, is an initiative to award time bank credit for people who are willing to clean trash off of the streets and sidewalks in Newburgh around where they live or work. Together We Heal is an initiative to address health disparities and encourage poor people who usually cannot afford specialized wellness activities to spend their time credits for yoga classes, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and vegan cooking classes (all of which have established partnerships here in Newburgh who accept timebank credit for payment for their classes or therapies)."
We hope Damian has inspired you the way he inspires us. None of us could have planned for how the year 2020 has unfolded, but Damian reminds us of the power of community and what we can do when we come together during difficult moments.
Thank you so much again for helping us build timebank communities.
Your contribution makes it possible for TimeBanks USA to support timebanks like Damian’s by providing timebanking software which tracks the hours exchanged in the community and lets people see what’s being offered and requested. With your support, we are able to provide resources and connectivity for timebanks to build on each other’s progress.
We continue to face uncertainty, but there is always something we can do, individually and collectively. We can choose to show up in the midst of fear.
Change is here. We hope you’ll continue to create impact by supporting the timebank movement.
Pam and the TimeBanks USA Team
P.S. Do you have a story about your community that you’d like to share? Please send it to us by sending an email to email@example.com and we’ll spread it for you.
Together We Can Timebank's Damian & Karisma DePauw