Announcing ‘Jack Does That,’ a central Maine hour exchange

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — Jack Does That, an hour exchange based in Dover Foxcroft, is open and looking for new members. While the concept of an hour exchange, or time bank, may be unfamiliar to many in our community it is something that Patrick Myers, the coordinator of the exchange, says is easy to understand.

    “Jack Does That is a way to connect people who have time and talents with people who need help. Instead of getting paid with dollars, members of Jack Does That earn hours for the work they do,” he said. “They take those hours and use them for things they need from the exchange.”
    An example Myers gave was of a member of Jack Does That who mows someone’s lawn for one hour. That hour is deposited in the member’s “time bank” and then that member can use that hour for a massage or help in the garden or whatever else they need. “The possibilities for exchanges are limitless,” Myers said. “From gardening and yard work, to computer consulting, to plumbing and electrical, if you need something done then just remember Jack Does That.”
    The concept of an hour exchange has been around for many years and has been gaining momentum in the past decade. According to www.hourworld.org, a consulting and support organization that works with time banks around the world, there are more than 160 different hour exchanges operating in the U.S.  Many of them use the same website and software that Jack Does That will is using to facilitate hour exchanges in central Maine.
    “We’re very lucky to have access to this website and software,” Myers said. “It meant we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel and we have a very robust and user-friendly system for the hour exchange.” While Myers states that the administration and organization of the hour exchange is online, you don’t have to have a computer to be a member of Jack Does That. “We understand that some people don’t have computers or aren’t comfortable using them. That is why we’re capable of supporting members who want to be off-line.”
    Jack Does That is welcoming new members starting in July. While the exchange is based in Dover-Foxcroft there are currently members as far away as Hermon. Myers hopes to get local groups started in many communities as the exchange grows. The process for becoming a member is easy. Those interested can visit www.jackdoesthat.org and fill out a very short on-line application or call 270-3613. The public can also come to any new-member orientation and sign up on-the-spot.
    The next orientation is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Charlotte White Center, 572 Bangor Road in Dover-Foxcroft. At the orientation, new members learn more about how the exchange works, get a demonstration of the online system and are asked for a suggested annual donation of $10 for individuals and $50 for businesses and organizations.
    However, Myers stresses that this is a suggested donation and that it should not be seen as a barrier to joining the hour exchange. “We know that times are tough and even $10 might be a burden on someone’s budget. We want everyone to be involved regardless of their financial means. In fact, Jack Does That can have huge benefits for someone who is unemployed or under-employed. It can give them a chance to do something positive with their time and earn hours that they can use for services and/or support they might need.”
    Myers will be working in the next months to spread the word about Jack Does That and welcomes invitations from interested groups and organizations. Anyone interested in learning more about the hour exchange can visit www.JackDoesThat.org or e-mail info@jackdoesthat.org. Those without a computer or with more questions can call 270-3613. Members of Jack Does That exchange services on an hour-for-hour basis and everyone’s time is equal. Jack Does That is a program of the Charlotte White Center.

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