Spokane neighbors ‘buy nothing,’ build community

Spokane neighbors ‘buy nothing,’ build community
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The ‘Buy Nothing’ project is sweeping Spokane neighborhoods, offering neighbors a chance to help their neighbors, avoid waste and fill needs they might have- like Craigslist, but hyper-local and without any cost.

The project was founded by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller in Bainbridge Island, Wash. several years ago. Its goal is to strengthen neighborhood communities, using Facebook groups to connect neighbors.

“It’s a gift economy, so it’s connecting neighbors through offering and receiving gifts,” said Letetia Gentis, who manages ‘Buy Nothing’ groups in Eastern Washington.

Because- when you need something, who better to help than your neighbors?

“Who are the people that can really help you the most are the people that are right, right there,” Gentis said.

Facebook groups for each neighborhood connect members, and solicit posts about items or services to be gifted or requested. The page’s only real rule, implied by its name- ‘Buy Nothing’ is not a forum to sell or buy items, or even trade or exchange. It’s about sharing or gifting and, sometimes, asking.

“There’s no expectation that it would be reciprocal although, as it works out, you know, all of us have probably had things that we could share and then also are able to take advantage of something that somebody else has to offer,” said Andrea Matters, a ‘Buy Nothing’ group member.

The use of social media allows for quick communication, but the project’s goal is to bring the focus back to getting to know your neighbors.

“The feeling of neighborhood is on the platform as well as in person so that’s kind of taking social media and bringing it back to being neighbors,” said Heatherann Woods, another group member.