Gifting with a warm vibe
By Bella Ross
The Buy Nothing Project uses the spirit of giving to bring communities together, and the residents of Poway have taken to social media to bring this mission to life.
In searching “Poway Buy Nothing” on Facebook, five different groups will pop up that offer this service on a hyper-local level. That’s because the project was so successful in Poway, the city’s initial group had to be split up into smaller communities, group co-admin Dawn Fortier said.
The concept is simple. People post on the page when they have something to offer for free, whether it be a piece of furniture or some kind of physical labor. People in search of particular items or services can also post in the group.
Another one of the group’s co-admins, Monica Wong, said she then hopes each post will “simmer” for 12 to 24 hours, giving people the opportunity to explain their use for the product or service. She said the choice to avoid a “first come, first served” system is because she wants people to give their goods to whoever needs them the most, not whoever is the fastest.
In order to maintain the community feel of the project, the groups have strict rules about who can join.
“We ask that you’re only in one group and it’s where you live – not closest to where you work, not closest to where grandma is – but we want you to actually be where you live,” Wong said.
Wong and Fortier said they like to keep the group exciting with fun themed days, such as Food Fridays in which group members exchange the food they don’t plan to eat. During the holidays, the group will play Sneaky Snowman for instances in which group members post about an item they’re looking for and it can’t be found.
“Let’s say if somebody was asking for a scarf and nobody had it, but then you find a scarf and you go deliver it to that person’s house with a little note that says ‘Sneaky Snowman,'” they explained.
When the co-admins talk about the group’s community feel, they mean it. Both women explained multiple cases in which the project has turned neighbors into friends.
“I saw a couple of ladies, they actually met through the Buy Nothing Project and they went out for dinner together,” Wong said. “And so that really warmed my heart because it’s fulfilling the purpose of what I like to see.”
Both admins described a warm atmosphere in the group they run – the page based out of northern Poway. Fortier said the group’s members are not afraid to display their gratitude for what they’ve been given.
“Let’s say they got a couch and they’ll take a picture of their living room, all decorated with the item in their living room and they’ll post a gratitude post to the person who gave it to them,” Fortier said. “I love to see gratitude posts.”
There are five different Buy Nothing Project groups run out of the Poway area: Poway North; Pomerado and Carriage; Old Poway; Garden Road and Heritage Hills; Midland/Community; Garden/Gate/Royal Estates.
To join, search for Poway Buy Nothing on Facebook.