Here is a paraphrase of what Charles said about gift circles:
Everyone has stuff that they almost never use (lawnmowers, blenders, weed-whackers, cars, etc.). Wouldn't it be better if we could share these things? How many snowblowers do we really need on one block? We want to share things, but there has been no mechanism in place, but a Gift Circle restarts the process.
In the first round, you state what you need (babysitting, house repairs, guitar, etc. etc.) and if someone has what you need, they offer it right then. You write down the name and contact info and then continue to the next person.
The second round give everyone the opportunity to state what they have to give to see if anyone can use it.
In the third round, you express gratitude for the gifts from the last circle.
This is the opposite of a money-based economy. This circle helps us rebuild community and saves us money, too. It is a way for us to adapt to a "de-growth" economy. It is a psychological shift away from independence to interdependence and obligation, to cooperation rather than competition. In some ancient cultures, it was a grave offense to refuse a gift.
This Gift Circle will continue to meet at least twice a month, either before Transition Harrisburg meetings or some other day that works best for the group.
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