“Buy Nothing” groups provide personal sense of community

New London

EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH)–When Laura Llewellyn needed toys for her visiting grandchildren she turned to the ‘Buy Nothing’ group in East Lyme she manages on Facebook.

“That’s been actually our best our best gift so far,” said Llewellyn.

That was a gift but she also was able to borrow two bicycles and two scooters from other neighbors.

“Things that you might need temporarily but you don’t need forever so this way you can lend it and give it back to the person that you borrowed it from,” said Llewellyn.

“So the ‘Buy Nothing’ project is based on gratitude giving from your own abundance or receiving items to avoid them from going to the wasteland,” explained Corine Canoza, a co-administrator for the “Buy Nothing” Gales Ferry/Ledyard/Groton group.

Canoza has gotten plants, a trampoline, and a guinea pig from her Gales Ferry neighbors and has given away plenty. Her daughter helps choose to whom.

“They give a story on why they need it,” said 10 year old Prudence Canoza.

“It’s a feel good thing. Well you know in these days you need that. You need that community you need that, neighbors,” said Sue Hartman who also co-administrates the “Buy Nothing” Gales Ferry/Ledyard/Groton group.

“To be a verified member of a group you have to provide two cross streets near your home, you have to be 21 years old, and you cannot be a member of any other ‘Buy Nothing’ group.

For example, if you’re in Connecticut for the summer you can join a group in this area and then you have to quit it to join another one when you head back home.

There are rules which don’t ban reselling a free item but do require honesty about your intentions.

“Rather than asking for things you’re going to resell if you’re doing it say to put food on your table ask for food for your table and people will give you Cheerios and peanut butter out of their own pantries,” said Llewellyn.

They also encourage people to pick up items at a police station or other public place at least the first time they meet.

“Once we’ve gotten a relationship going then most of us will we’ll start meeting at each other’s houses,” said Canoza.

It’s neighbors helping neighbors creating a more personal sense of community. 

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