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Sebastopol Man Finds Time Bank Multilevel Help


Sebastopol Man Finds Time Bank Multilevel Help

By Persia Wooley

Kent Don signed up for the Sebastopol Area Time Bank (SATB) when he first heard about it last spring, and now he’s one of its most enthusiastic supporters.

“I’ve always been interested in community programs--how people organize themselves to meet common needs, both big and little. And the added element of being of service also attracted me, “ he explained.

In the Sebastopol Area Time Bank each person offers services they are willing to provide but instead of money or barter, the trade-off is hours of time. One member provides another with what is needed, then ‘deposits’ the hours he spent into his own account with the Bank. These hours are then available for him to draw on when he needs something for himself.

“I heard there are time banks in other Bay area cities,” Don went on. “So I was intrigued to see there is one being set up in Sebastopol.”

Don is the father of 14-year-old twins as well as the full time caregiver for a family member who has been incapacitated for the last 12 years. And while he’s had to get good at lots of unexpected things, cooking large meals has not been one of them. So one of his first requests was for a full turkey dinner for his family. 

The result was a classic feast – Don paid for all the ingredients and the cook produced the roasted bird, potatoes, dressing, salad and veggies plus cookies for dessert. As an added bonus she also made soup, enchiladas and other goodies from the leftovers. “I could barely make it fit in the freezer, and the kids loved it,” Don said with a grin.  

As a Time Bank member he was surprised at how many little things he could do that he hadn’t thought of as important to someone else. He ran across a lady who needed some old redwood removed from her property. He has a pickup, so an exchange was arranged that met both their needs quite handily. Someone else needed help with an irrigation system. Since he used to install them, he went to look at it and was able to solve the problem in half an hour, all with no money exchanged.

“Serving others is clearly a strong motivation for many of our members,” explained Gayle Bergmann, Time Bank Project Lead. But she echoed Don’s final assessment: “It’s surprising how easy it is to fit a little favor into my day that makes a difference to someone. I figured if Kent could do it, I certainly could. The bonus is I choose to do something I like and then someone else can help me with something that is outside of my comfort zone. Win win.” 

The Sebastopol Area Time Bank held orientation meetings weekly during the “grand opening” month of October but beginning in November they will be held on the 10th of each month. Further information about membership requirements and orientation details can be found at


Building community one hour at a time
A Project of Cittaslow Sebastopol