It was a simple thing to do, and not something I was sure I was going to continue being a part of, but my local Buy Nothing FB Group has proved to be a source of inspiration and joy. This is a place where neighbors meet and share. And anything goes, really. People offer goods they no longer can use, for free. One person's trash does turn out most of the time to be another person's treasure. Sometimes people post that they are in search of something, and inevitably someone else has that item to give or loan. Everything from old lawnmowers to jars of peanut butter are listed, and snapped up within hours. Even things like packing materials, extra plastic shopping bags are taken with a please and thank you! People sometimes post that someone has moved into the neighborhood and don't yet have furniture. And they are offered furniture, pots and pans, to borrow or to keep. This sense of community, of belonging to a group where someone will inevitably reach out if a need is expressed, has been so inspiring to me over the last two years. During the baby formula crisis, neighbors were offering to share their own stores. New mothers have been able to collect baby clothes; those with older children post what they have outgrown and there is always someone who can use what's on offer. Things change hands, people's needs are met, both giver and receiver are happy with the transactions that go on completely without cost. Gratitude flows from this group on an hourly basis. I have such reverence for these groups. If you have the need to clear out clutter or even your pantry from things you bought and will never use, or gently used but no longer want, I urge you to become a part of your local group. It takes recycling to another level, and will gladden your heart even if you just watch the exchanges that happen every single day. You will get a sense of what your community is, even if you never gather together physically. Because this gathering place is special, and everyone who participates is so very very kind.
Picture is 'Sharing the Fish' by Thomas Cooper Gotch.