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(Photo courtesy Buy Nothing Project Facebook page)

For the last year, a group of San Pedro residents has been finding comfort and hope by sharing items they no longer need with others in their neighborhood, often strangers. The Buy Nothing Project on Facebook has become a worldwide movement bringing people together in a safe, non-contact way. It encourages neighbors to give away items for free that they might not be using any longer and ask for things they might need. The goal of the group is to share resources with others in their neighborhood.

As somebody who likes to save money, I have found great value in participating in my local Buy Nothing group. I have received a radio for my kitchen, wood for an outdoor fireplace, jewelry, clothing, hair conditioner, shoes, fruit, a puzzle, a banana tree, and a set of women’s golf clubs. I typically donate items that I no longer use to local charities but have been more motivated to clean out drawers and closets. I offer some of the nicer items I no longer need to the Buy Nothing Project. It has made giving items away much easier, especially when somebody picks them up from my porch. 

“One of the goals of the Buy Nothing Project is for people to build community with their nearby neighbors by gifting, receiving, and expressing gratitude,” states Jacqui Grennan, administrator of Buy Nothing San Pedro (South). “To help build that community, the groups are hyperlocal and administrated by volunteers who live in that area.” 

San Pedro has two Buy Nothing groups: north/central, and the other is south. The geographic region for both groups is divided by 13th Street, which runs nearly straight across town. The south group started in February 2020, just before COVID, and has over 600 members. The north/central group started in October 2020 and has over 200 members. 

“These groups have helped neighbors to bond during the COVID lockdown and provide for things that are needed,” says Grennan. “In addition, it is a great place to give things away as people clean out their spaces at home and at work.” 

I had a throw pillow with a seashell pattern pillowcase that would often end up behind our couch with complaints of its scratchy material by my family. It was just a throw pillow, but it reminded me of a relative who had given it to me. I posted it in the Buy Nothing group, and within a day, my pillowcase was on somebody else’s couch in my neighborhood. The new owner sent me a photo of it on her couch. 

My dad had a nice globe on a stand that I don’t have room for in my home, and my dad no longer was using it. After posting it on the Buy Nothing Project, it quickly found a new happy home. The new owner explained that her dad had passed away, and he had a globe she always wanted. It was so much easier for my dad and me to part with the globe knowing somebody else could use it.

With the new golf clubs I received from the Buy Nothing Project, I plan to learn how to golf. I have spent many days cleaning the ocean from my kayak and the local beach at low tide in the last few months. I have found eight golf balls so far that I will use with my golf clubs. It is a great feeling to know everything is recycled from my neighborhood, and I did not spend any money getting started on my new hobby. 

Each Buy Nothing group can be found by searching Facebook and the name of the group that covers the area where you live.  To learn more about the Buy Nothing Project, visit buynothingproject.org. spt

photo of san pedro today author Jennifer Marquez

Jennifer Marquez

Jennifer Marquez can be reached at  jennifertmarquez@yahoo.com  and @jenntmqz on Twitter and Instagram.

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