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Alderman Brings Time Bank to Galesburg

T.J. Carson
Fifth Ward Alderman Peter Schwartzman speaks about the time bank concept to an audience at the Galesburg Public Library.

A new concept starting in Galesburg allows people in the city and surrounding communities to receive services that they need. All it will cost them is a bit of their time providing a service to someone else.

The concept is called a time bank.  The possible services provided include teaching a language, cooking a meal, mowing a lawn, and more. A person who offers those services to someone in need can get a service they need in return.

Peter Schwartzman brought the concept to Galesburg. He hosted a presentation about it at the public library.  A dozen people attended the hour-long session. Schwartzman found the turnout encouraging.

“I thought the questions they asked were wonderful. People are really thinking deeply about how this might work and what it may turn into,” Schwartzman said.

Schwartzman said he would like to see 100 people signed up for the time bank by the end of the year. So far, 18 have signed up. But he emphasized the program is about more signing up participants.

“It’s not just the number of people but it’s the number of connections they make, the exchanges they make. You could have a hundred people in the community, but if they never talk to each other, then they’re not going to know each other,” Schwartzman said.

Schwartzman said the time bank is a complimentary service at the moment. He said it isn’t aimed at replacing civil organizations in the city. Schwartzman also said he hopes the time bank can eventually be used for greater services, such as a food co-op or a small business for the community.