Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the HopeMarket Community Trading Post?
2. What are the benefits of joining the HopeMarket Community?
3. Who can join?
4. How do I join the HopeMarket Community?
5. How do I volunteer at the HopeMarket Community Trading Post?
6. How do I trade in the HopeMarket Community?
7. What is Equal Dollars?
8. What if I have nothing to trade?
9. What kind of things can I trade for?

1. What is the HopeMarket Community Trading Post?

Time, talent, skills, abilities, creativity, service, teamwork, Equal Dollars. The HopeMarket is more than a place to shop. It’s a growing community run by volunteer members who believe that working together brings unity in a community. Community members join by paying a one time fee of $10.00 which sets them up with an account of 50 Equal Dollars to get them started. The Equal Dollars can then be used to trade at the Trading Post.

The HopeMarket Community Trading Post is both a place and a community. The place is a market set up in the HopeWorx offices where donations are accepted and displayed so that community members can browse and shop. The community is the ever widening group of people who have joined our mission and contribute their time, their talents, their energy and sometimes their donations to the market. Our members form a community that reaches throughout Montgomery County.

2. What are the benefits of joining the HopeMarket Community?

For the $10 dollar membership fee, each member receives 50 Equal Dollars to use in the market and in the community. After joining, members can begin trading, exchanging goods and services for more Equal Dollars (click here for more information), and “purchasing” items and services they need with the Equal Dollars they received.

So the benefits of joining the HopeMarket Community are:

  • It’s a way to stretch your dollars
  • It’s a way to use your skills to help someone else
  • It’s a way to meet your needs without spending US Dollars
  • It’s a way to be more involved in a community and help it grow and develop

3. Who can join?

The HopeMarket Community was started withhin the mental health community in Montgomery County, and that community continues to be the focus of much of our outreach, but anyone who is willing to participate in the community is welcome to join.

4. How do I join the HopeMarket Community?

To join the Hope Market Community, come to our Trading Post at HopeWorx during the hours we are open – Tuesdays and Fridays from 12pm to 3pm and Saturdays from 1pm to 4pm. Talk to the point person at the Trading Post that day, who will give you a brief orientation and ask you to fill out a form giving us your contact infromation. You will be asked to contribute $10. That $10 helps us cover expenses of running the market, but it is not meant to be a barrier to joining – if you cannot afford it, the point person will work out a payment plan or a plan to volunteer for membership. An account will be set up for you to keep track of your Equal Dollar trading, and you can begin shopping, selling and volunteering at the Trading Post.

5. How do I volunteer at the HopeMarket Trading Post?

After joining the HopeMarket Community, you can volunteer at the Trading Post any time it is open – just talk to the point person of the day. Transportation from within the Norristown area can be provided if arrangements are made at least two days in advance. More information about transportation is also available from the point person.

Volunteering at the Trading Post is not only a good way to receive Equal Dollars, it is also a good way to participate in the HopeMarket Community. Some of the benefits of volunteering are:

  • Meeting many dirrerent kinds of people
  • A relaxing work oriented atmosphere
  • Spending your time, not your dollars
  • Access to our craft club
  • Furnishing your apartment or home
  • The opportunity to get an early look at incoming donations
  • Access to our lounge area
  • Access to our internet-enabled computers
  • Participating and learning and acquiring work experience

6. How do I trade in the HopeMarket Community?

After joining, HopemMarket Community members can trade for goods that are available at the Trading Post or for services that are offered by other community members. In order for people to be able to trade more freely, the HopeMarket Community uses a community currency called Equal Dollars (for more information about Equal Dollars, click here). Members use Equal Dollars to “purchase” goods and services.

To purchase an item at the Trading Post, just bring the items you want to buy to the front desk and a volunteer will check you out, recording purchases that will be deducted from your account. If you are trading for services with another community member, you can work out the deal between yourselves and then ask the volunteer at the Trading Post desk to record the Equal Dollar transaction so that Equal Dollars will be added and subtracted from the right member accounts.

How do I earn more Equal Dollars?

There are three ways to earn Equal Dollars:

  • You can volunteer at the HopeMarket Community Trading Post for 13 Equal Dollars an hour (for more information, click here).
  • You can bring in items to sell at the Trading Post on consignment (so you will not earn Equal Dollars until someone else purchases your items).
  • You can provide services to another member, for a price that you both negotiate. Members have provided each other with services such as computer help and cleaning services.

7. What is Equal Dollars?

Equal Dollars is a community based barter currency that allows you to participate in our barter community. It is not a legal US currency – it is like Monopoly money, used specifically for bartering. Equal Dollars were created by Resources for Human Development(RHD), in Philadelphia, PA, for use in their barter community – for information about RHD’s program, click here

Using a barter currency allows members to assign a value to the things they barter – for example, the community has assigned the value of 13 Equal Dollars for an hour of volunteer time. A member may want to trade some of his or her books for some clothing items. Using Equal Dollars to assign values to both the books and the clothing is easier and more consistent than trying to determine how many books are worth a shirt or a pair of shoes.

By assigning value, your skills, talents, time an creativity become your Equal Dollars in the HopeMarket. Equal Dollars make us equal!

8. What if I have nothing to trade?

The HopeMarket Community believes that everybody has something of value to bring to our community. If you feel you have nothing to trade, we encourage you to come to the Trading Post to volunteer – community volunteers at the Trading Post work with everyone who wants to participate to find and develop skills amongst our members that will help build and strengthen our community.

9. What kinds of things can I trade for?

The HopeMarket Trading Post solicits donations of clothing, hosehold goods, televisions, furniture and other items that are available for your members to purchase with Equal Dollars that they’ve earned. Members also sell a variety of items, including artwork. We ovccasionally host barter days to introduce the concept of bartering to new members, in which members are encouraged to bring items to offer for trade. For these events, members often show off their cooking skills, bringing individual postions of chili or cookies or pasta sauce to trade. Some members also offer services such as computer maintenance, music lessons, and cleaning.