Across the islands, leaders and organizations have been mobilizing to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities have the necessary care, food, and connection needed during this crisis. 

As a community-focused organization, Kanu Hawaiʻi has created a COVID-19 response resource hub named Respond with Aloha. This website creates space for  individuals and organizations to help in various ways –  through donations, providing key services, giving or receiving volunteer hours, and supporting local businesses. One of the options for those that have time and energy to contribute, is the new Hawaiʻi-focused timebank called the Kokua Exchange, listed on the Respond With Aloha website under “Local Business Support and Community Exchanges”. 

Timebanking, also known as skillsharing, is an opportunity that allows the community to ‘barter’ services indirectly with other people by locking their trade/barter hours into the ‘bank’. From there, they can then cash in on those opportunities in the future. 

Timebanking acknowledges that everyone has skills to share and trade with others, and that the community is strengthened when neighbors help one another. Skills and trades are varied and can include child care, food preparation, yard work, delivering goods, running errands, business advice, coaching, and even teaching classes. Regardless of the skill, all time given is valued equally. 

A Timebank gives everyone the opportunity to:

  • Strengthen the fabric of our community;
  • Serve people and give them a means to serve; and
  • Establish new relationships and meet real needs of our community members.

The core principles of timebanking include the following, from

  • Asset:
 Every one of us has something of value to share with someone else.
  • Redefining Work: There are some forms of work that money will not easily pay for, like building strong families, revitalizing neighborhoods, making democracy work, and advancing social justice. Time credits were designed to reward, recognize and honor that work.
  • Reciprocity: The question: “How can I help you?” needs to change so we ask: “Will you help someone too?” Paying it forward ensures that together we help each other build the world we all will live in.
  • Community/Social Networks: By helping each other, we reweave communities of support, strength & trust. Community is built by sinking roots, building trust, and creating networks. 
  • Respect: The heart and soul of democracy lies in respect for others. We strive to respect where people are in the moment, not where we hope they will be at some future point.

Here’s an example of how the Timebanking can work in real time, using some of the Kanu Hawaiʻi team members as examples: 

  • Molly needs help with planting a garden at her house. Laura volunteers her time to help deliver some seeds and plants from her own garden, and earns 2 hours of banked ‘credit’ for her time. 
  • Keone is a business leader, and wants to offer his skills to help businesses adapt to this changing time. Laura can use her two ‘banked’ hours to get business guidance from Keone. He earns two banked credits for helping Laura. 
  • Keone can then use his credits to get recipe and cooking guidance from Andrea, and onwards! 

If you have skills to share and/or have needs to be met, you can sign up for Kokua Exchange here. It’s simple to get started: add your name, complete the full profile and then apply for membership. Our team will review your profile for completeness, and then you can add your shareable skills and begin timebanking to support your neighbors.Together we are stronger and more resilient. We look forward to working alongside you!

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