A federally-backed program that creates volunteer networks of neighbors helping neighbors has opened its first office in Iowa. Miriam Roussos, with AmeriCorps, is helping coordinate the Time Dollar program, which allows people to trade services, not currency. She says it’s a way to rebuild your community by meeting others and emphasizes time and skills rather than money.The program simply allows neighbors to provide one hour of service -for- one hour of service, with no taxes or cash involved. Services are wide ranging, including: child care, lawn mowing, cooking, reading to kids, home repair, legal services, house cleaning and more. Roussos says the first office is in Des Moines and it’s hoped the program will be expanded into many other Iowa cities and towns. After signing up, Iowans can list any services they’re able to provide along with services they need. The information is entered into a database where recipients are matched according to skills and needs. For example, Roussos says you can earn a “Time Dollar” by giving someone a ride to the grocery store and spend it by having someone else weed your garden. For more information, call (515) 243-3930.
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