Sunday, May 20th

Last updateThu, 17 May 2018 12pm

You are here: Home Content Shout it Out The Buy Nothing Project: Gift Giving to Build Community
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
Seniors Explore the Working World

Seniors Explore the Working World

With college decisions behind them, SHS Seniors are in the home str...

Inviting Cafe Opens at White Plains Library

Inviting Cafe Opens at White Plains Library

With the Scarsdale Library set to close for a multi-year renovation...

Feuhrer and Singer Win Seats on the School Board, 2018/19 Budget Passes

Feuhrer and Singer Win Seats on the School Board, 2018/19 Budget Passes

A stormy evening did not stop residents from supporting the candida...

SFCS Hosts a Magical Night at Scarsdale Golf Club

SFCS Hosts a Magical Night at Scarsdale Golf Club

A respected community volunteer, and enthusiastic benefit committee and the prom...

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

The Buy Nothing Project: Gift Giving to Build Community

buy-nothingmagnetsHere's a novel way to build community, pay it forward and experience the joy of giving – and perhaps receiving. The Buy Nothing Project, a Facebook-based organization that was started less than five years ago on Bainbridge Island, Washington are hyper-local gift economies that seek to "share abundance" in one way or another within the community, both on the giving and receiving ends. Their mission (or "social movement" as they call it) goes like this:

"Post anything you'd like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you'd like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we're strictly a gift economy."

The purpose is different for different people, but the idea of a gift economy remains the same. Some people love to get things for free. Others are doing a spring cleaning and just need to clear stuff out. Some people deliver their gifts and make a new acquaintance at the same time; while others just want to get rid of something quickly and leave it on their front stoop. Some people don't have goods to give away but may have time on their hands to help someone else out, like babysitting so a new mom can go food shopping. After a trip to Italy, another woman wanted to share her love of cooking and invited four people over to her house for a two-hour Italian cooking class, complete with wine and a meal to take home.

Unfortunately I haven't yet been the chosen recipient, but one woman from an Indian background makes an Indian meal for a family of 4-5 each month "to encourage kids to try something new." One woman sent her son out with a shopping list and he came back from Costco with hundreds of tomatoes. Rather than letting the tomatoes go to waste, she found someone to take her extra produce and they all had a good laugh.

You can also use the site to wish for something you need. My son's ski jacket zipper broke the day before we were leaving for a ski trip. I had no time to get it fixed and posted "Wish: Boy's ski jacket, size 8 or so. My son's zipper just jammed on his ski jacket and we leave in just hours for skiing. Happy to borrow and return." Someone not only responded within 15 minutes of my post, but dropped the jacket off at my house and asked me to re-gift the jacket when my son outgrows it. Others have a simple wish like a non-stick cookie pan, something big like a laptop computer, or a wish for an almost forgotten school project: "I need a shoe box ASAP! Anyone?"buynothingphoto

A group from a nearby town, similar in socio-economic make up to Scarsdale, has had tremendous success with the Buy Nothing (BN) model. A local mom volunteered to become the site administrator it grew from zero to 1,700 members (all in-town) in seven months. The community has gotten very creative with the site. For example, when someone wants to give something away that will have a lot of interest, people have started thinking of innovative ways to pick a winner. One giver asked site users to vie for the gift by guessing the giver's favorite cocktail, another asked for his son's lucky number, or to name your favorite vacation spot. If that was the giver's favorite vacation spot, then the brand-new Coach bag went to that user.
The site administrators encourage givers not just to choose the first person who responds as you would do at a tag sale site, but to consider everyone who is interested and make about who will be gifted.

Stories about these gifts create goodwill in the community. For example, a BN site administrator recently gave away a bunch of cookie cutters. Shortly afterwards, she was home recovering from a surgical procedure when she received a beautiful box at her front door with a note from the receiver of the cookie cutters saying that she heard that the giver was under the weather. The box was filled with homemade frosted cookies crafted with the cookie cutters. When someone posts a photo of the item they received in use, it's dubbed "an appreciation post." People regularly post pictures of their kids in gifted snow boots or a catered dinner for 20 that was gifted when a party had to be canceled due to a sick family member.

I had a chance to speak with a BN site administrator. She is certain that the Buy Nothing model would work in Scarsdale.

What's the best part of the BN project?
To me, the best part is that when we receive, it also sparks the desire to give. This may not come naturally to a lot of people, but this forum makes people feel gratitude, connect with their neighbors and at the same time find things/ services they need and reciprocate in the same manner.

An example of a unique "give" on the site?
One thing which stands out for me is someone who gave away (unopened, needless to say) women's menstrual hygiene products. That was one of its kind. We also have some very generous people who give designer bags and wallets, clothes etc. Someone recently gave away Emilio Pucci snow boots.

What are some creative ways people choose a gift receiver?
Recently, someone came up with the idea of guessing the Superbowl score for a full meal for a family of five. It's a ton of fun. It's almost like winning the lottery!

What made you decide to volunteer to help run the site?
I'm a stay-at-home mom with a 2-year-old. I was beyond thrilled to see that the BN project was in our area. I am so glad I was picked! I've met so many people through giving and receiving on this site; people whom I otherwise would never have met. I've discovered streets and cul-de-sacs I never knew existed. I think it helps the community overall in becoming closer. To me, the site is not just about giving and receiving materially but also in spirit. And this is what this forum is doing.

The past couple weeks have been fun on one of the Buy Nothing pages. The site administrators started "alphabet giving and receiving." For example, Sunday was A. People posted things like "A is for apple pie. Give: three apple pies that have been frozen since Thanksgiving thanks to a preschool pie fundraiser and the recent knowledge that my whole family hates apple pie." Monday was B and the creativity continued. "B is for baby. Before you buy, post what you need for your baby here!" The response to this was amazing. So many people responded with items to give away and so many new moms or moms-to-be received useful items for their babies.

Some people have voiced concern that the BN project would affect retailers or charitable giving, but these concerns have proven unfounded. People who work for charitable organizations regularly post wishes for needed items and the response is overwhelming. Retailers should not be affected as there has yet to be a BN project that has put a damper on local shopping. Online shopping is the biggest threat to buying local.

If you can picture this happening in Scarsdale, make it happen! The project is well organized and will work with you to start a forum. Learn how here.

And lastly, anyone have a designer purse they no longer use? (wink)

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Good Work

SETTING

Kids Collect 560 Pairs of Sneakers for Pediatric Cancer

Kids Collect 560 Pairs of Sneakers for Pediatric Cancer

This past March and April, Scarsdale’s Dean Glucksman and friends collected gently used sneakers for the Max Cure Foundation and the Dunk...

Read More

Around Town

SETTING

Do-it-Yourself Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Risk

Do-it-Yourself Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Risk

According the American Cancer Society , about 266,000 people are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year. There have been huge adva...

Read More

Neighborhood News

SETTING

The Little Mermaid On Stage at SHS this Weekend

The Little Mermaid On Stage at SHS this Weekend

Travel under the sea with the senior class this weekend. Directed by Camila Tardiff and assistant director Sophia Roth, along with musica...

Read More

On Our Minds

SETTING

Non-Partisans in a Partisan World

Non-Partisans in a Partisan World


( This is the opinion of site founder Joanne Wallenstein ) The campaign for Scarsdale School Board is over and the votes have been counted....

Read More

On Our Radar

SETTING

High School Sustainable Garden Project Enters a New Era

High School Sustainable Garden Project Enters a New Era

With founder Maggie Favretti retiring this spring, the SHS Garden enters a new season. Over the ten years since Favretti and her first “G...

Read More

Parenting

SETTING

Adaptive Golf Coming to Westchester Thanks to Simon Yu

Adaptive Golf Coming to Westchester Thanks to Simon Yu

Golf This Spring , a group founded at Scarsdale High School in 2018, works to bring Adaptive Golf to Westchester County, New York. The gro...

Read More

Village Voices

SETTING

"Running and Winning" Workshop Held to Educate High Schools Girls on Running for Office

Victoria Gearity and Councilwoman Liz Fried spoke with the students. On April 19, 43 high school girls from across Westchester County met ...

Read More

Shout it Out

SETTING

Seniors Explore the Working World

Seniors Explore the Working World

With college decisions behind them, SHS Seniors are in the home stretch. How can the school avoid senior slump and keep these students en...

Read More

School News

SETTING

SHS Varsity Tennis Team Plays Heated Match Against Greely

SHS Varsity Tennis Team Plays Heated Match Against Greely

The matches were held on the high school tennis courts. One could taste the vitriol in the air at the SHS Boy’s Varsity A tennis match las...

Read More

Schools

SETTING

Feuhrer and Singer Win Seats on the School Board, 2018/19 Budget Passes

Feuhrer and Singer Win Seats on the School Board, 2018/19 Budget Passes

A stormy evening did not stop residents from supporting the candidates and waiting to hear the results of the election for the school boa...

Read More

The Goods

SETTING

Inviting Cafe Opens at White Plains Library

Inviting Cafe Opens at White Plains Library

With the Scarsdale Library set to close for a multi-year renovation, the opening of a large café at the nearby White Plains library shoul...

Read More

Real Estate

SETTING

Real Estate: Nancy Shaw Chochrek Becomes Branch Manager at Houlihan Lawrence Plus Sales and Open Houses

Real Estate: Nancy Shaw Chochrek Becomes Branch Manager at Houlihan Lawrence Plus Sales and Open Houses

Scarsdale native Nancy Shaw Chochrek has returned to Houlihan Lawrence in Scarsdale as Branch Manager. She has 17 years of experience in ...

Read More

Today's News

SETTING

Police Report: Westchester Teen Arrested for Terroristic Threat, Drunk Driver and Passenger Found with Cocaine in Car

Police Report: Westchester Teen Arrested for Terroristic Threat, Drunk Driver and Passenger Found with Cocaine in Car

Arrests: On May 12, 2018, a 16 year-old Chappaqua boy was arrested for making threats to initiate a school shooting at the Westfield Day ...

Read More

Arts and Entertainment

SETTING

Family Fun, Food, DJ, Games to Rock Chase Park at PBA Community Day May 20

Family Fun, Food, DJ, Games to Rock Chase Park at PBA Community Day May 20

Scarsdale will be rocking Sunday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Chase Park, as the community turns out for a fun, open-air Comm...

Read More

People

SETTING

Math and Empathy Should be at the Center of Good Governance

Math and Empathy Should be at the Center of Good Governance

The Scarsdale School district has been spending a lot of time in the last few years emphasizing math and empathy. I urge you Mr. Mayor an...

Read More

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Programs for Scarsdale Kids