Holiday Event, November 7
by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — Thinking about holiday shopping for gifts, but don’t have money? No problem, if you are a member of the Onion River Exchange.
They don’t take money at the upcoming Holiday Shopping Exchange November 7 at 46 Barre Street. Instead, they take time.
The Onion River Exchange is a time bank in which members exchange skills, talents and services using time instead of money. The exchange has over 400 members from 28 towns in central Vermont. About 664 services are offered and requested, and over 39,000 hours have been exchanged since 2008.
“It is a great way to do holiday shopping,” Heather Kralik, Onion River Exchange outreach director told The Bridge October 29. “I do painting, but I don’t do crafts. I am bringing items I like, like a yard sale. I am putting an amount of time on it. Something might (cost) 2 hours. Something could (cost) a half an hour. You have to agree with it.”
In other words, if you want to buy a beautiful painting someone is selling and it costs two hours, you talk to the seller and find out what they need. Do they need a ride to the airport? Two hours worth of snow shoveling? Two hours worth of dog sitting? You work it out with the seller. The only thing is, you either have to be a member, or intend on becoming a member in order to attend, said Marcy Young, member coordinator. It costs $25 for an individual to join.
This concept follows up on what have become Kralik’s mottos, “There is enough” and “We have enough.” The idea is that people should pool resources (including talents and skills) rather than duplicating “things,” such as tools.
But tools are important too, and Kralik also helps coordinate the tool bank, where people can sign up as members and take out tools as needed and then return them when done, like a lending library.
“There is enough,” Kralik said. “We can help each other with what we already have. Whenever I run into a problem that is what I say to myself, ‘There is enough.’ ”