It’s 4:45 p.m., and you’re starting to get dinner ready. The coronavirus is still raging, so quick trips to the grocery store are limited when your kids are at home, and you just realized you’re out of butter.
What now? You could probably make the dish healthy, but that’s not really what we do down South. Facebook groups around the world are popping up to help solve problems just like this one.
The Buy Nothing Project unites communities year round but proves especially helpful during the pandemic. If someone needs food, supplies or help and another person has extra, they share, making life easier for everyone.
“This worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies are dedicated to random acts of kindness,” one North Alabama participant wrote on Facebook. “Neighbors share furniture, food, decor, kitchen appliances, tools, clocks, gardening supplies, baby and childrens’ clothes, books, toys, and nearly anything you can think of. Neighbors also give ‘gifts of self’ such as a ride to the store, walking dogs, playdates, caring for plants, or teaching and sharing talents and skills.There is no cash involved. Each neighborhood group depends on kindness as its currency. There is no promotion, marketing, buying, selling, trading, swapping or bartering. Just giving for the joy of giving.”
The Buy Nothing Project started in Washington in 2013 as an experiment, but has since grown to include groups in 30 countries around the world.
“Whether people join because they’d like to quickly get rid of things that are cluttering their lives, or simply to save money by getting things for free, they quickly discover that our groups are not just another free recycling platform,” according to the website. “A gift economy’s real wealth is the people involved and the web of connections that forms to support them.”
There are several groups in Huntsville, as well as Madison and Hazel Green, devoted to the Buy Nothing Project. The inclusive Madison County page has more than 5,000 followers.