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‘Buy Nothing’ group encourages community giving over monetary commerce

Members give up money for gifting economy
Lauralee Estes helps women who came to the Buy Nothing event Jan. 9 in Farmington. The Buy Nothing Project is a hyperlocal gifting economy where people can give, lend and receive freely without any exchange of money or goods of any kind.

FARMINGTON – During a time when social interaction and trips to the store are limited, the local Buy Nothing Farmington Facebook group has become a place where anyone can provide help to others by gifting away their belongings or seek help from others.

The Buy Nothing Project is a hyperlocal gifting economy where people can give, lend and receive freely without any exchange of money or goods of any kind.

The local chapter of the Buy Nothing Project is one of 15 in New Mexico and more than 4,000 groups in 30 nations around the world, according to the Buy Nothing Project website. The project was originally started by two people in Seattle, Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller, in hopes to help “create local gift economies in as many communities as possible by asking people to give where they live.”

The site, as well as Buy Nothing Facebook groups across the platform, say that someone can join only one Buy Nothing group, and it has to be in the city where they live.

Buy Nothing Farmington Facebook group administrator and leader Danielle Pickerill said she lives and breathes the project.

“It’s a simple concept that is heartfelt to restore a little faith back into humanity, to be there for your fellow brothers and sisters on this journey of life; for that cup of sugar and want or need,” said Pickerill, who has been with the project for four years.

She added that the Buy Nothing Project is not considered a charity or nonprofit, rather a social experiment and platform to connect the community.

“Every person involved with the project is a volunteer who blesses us with their gift of time and knowledge,” she said.

The project also has environmental issues in mind.

“So we can be there for one another with simple items that we are saving from the landfill, lessening our carbon footprint,” Pickerill said. “Uplifting our community to be there for someone who may be in need or want.”

People of all ages 18 and older and all walks of life are welcome to join the group. Pickerill even said she has made lifelong friendships with some people she’s met while in the process of decluttering.

“It truly is amazing to see the growth before your eyes and witness the domino effect with a simple act of kindness and how good it feels just simply to be there if you’re able to be,” she said.

Megan Henderson, one of the nearly 350 members of the local group, said the group has helped her in many ways, “from the smaller things like snacks and socks to bigger things like meals and hygiene products, this group helps everybody get involved and we all take care of each other.”

Henderson said she is struggling in today’s pandemic with underlying health issues, but that things aren’t as difficult as they once were for her, and the group even helps her avoid crowded stores where she would be at a higher risk because of health concerns.

“Thankfully, I am in a better spot,” Henderson said. “But (at the time), I didn’t have a group to help me, and I had to figure things out on my own. So now, knowing that I have a group that supports me and will help me in any way, and that I can help those who need help is a huge comfort in the super-scary time.”

Another member of the group, Zoe Lonergan, said giving is “contagious.”

“When you see others giving from their hearts, and others receiving, the pure joy it brings into their lives, it makes you want to do more, give more,” Lonergan said. “Especially now, when so many are struggling to provide for everyday essentials.”

To become part of the Buy Nothing Facebook group, visit the group’s Facebook page, click “join” and answer the questions provided.

“There is no cost,” Pickerill said. “Simply neighbors connecting with neighbors for that cup of sugar.”

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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