By Liesl Clark
When people ask me what a Buy Nothing group really looks like, I tell them it’s a Facebook group that’ll give you a hands-on chance to take part in a social movement spreading across the country, enabling people and communities to commit episodic acts of daily good together. It’s rather an improvement on Freecycle, using social media to bring to the fore myriad random acts of kindness for neighbors to partake in day-in and day-out.
Interested in a sampling of what you might see offered or asked-for in a Buy Nothing group? We’ve seen it all. Really.
People give clothes, dinners, crock pots, plants, rabbits, snakes, rabbit-eating snakes. We’ve seen used and clean Ziploc bags offered, laundry detergent, antiques, bicycles, antique bicycles, canoes, kombucha, branches, flowers, cement blocks, eggs, beds, broccoli, custard, and crickets. There’s no limit to what you can give or receive.
It’s the services offered and off-beat requests that are perhaps the most touching, enabling people to give in the most precious ways. Here’s a list of a few things that happened in our local group last month to help you get started on your own Buy Nothing creative giving:
– A Nurse offers her time to care for an elderly person or give childcare.
– A woman needs some land, a final resting place for her beloved dying dog.
– An arborist offers her services to check the health of a landowner’s trees.
– A woman needs over-the-counter medicines late at night to help treat a UTI, and neighbors respond quickly and compassionately.
– A librarian offers a recommended “book of the week” with a brief review.
– A man asks for blackberries for wine he’s making and then shares the wine with the whole community.
– A music store offers 4 free guitar lessons for a child getting started.
– A family whose son just had an appendectomy on vacation in HI receives gift baskets upon their return home.
– A Buy Nothing group Outfits a 10 year-old girl whose family just had a house fire.
– Several college students moving into apartments are gifted furniture and kitchen stuff.
– Flowers contributed from members’ gardens become large bouquets for a BN member’s friend who just passed away.
– A new first grade teacher’s room is outfitted with books, rug, and stuffed animals.
– A family that has been camping, awaiting an apartment to open up for them, is offered a home for a few weeks.
– A BN member asks homeless people in Seattle what they need (a guitar, winter coats, food), he messages the BN Community and they deliver the items to him which he takes to Seattle the next morning to hand out.
– A woman assembles a gift basket for a newborn.
– A ‘clothing boutique’ takes place, free clothing offered to all who attend.
– A woman teaches a cooking class for interested members.
– A crochet club is started.
– A free Halloween costume event takes place in a member’s home.
Buy Nothing groups are less about stuff and more about community. If there isn’t one in your community and you’d like to work with us to start one, contact us and we’ll get you started!