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New social media group brings Bothell community together
Bothell resident Heather Heyer started a movement in her community to bring her neighbors together and help each other.
The Buy Nothing Project began as an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island and in just two months, it has become a social movement, growing to more than 4,000 members in 16 groups from San Jose, Calif. to Seattle. The idea is for local groups to form gift economies that are complementary and parallel to local cash economies. Heyer uses a Facebook group page to get her neighbors connected.
People join because they’d like to quickly get rid of things that are cluttering their lives or simply to save money by getting things for free.
Heyer started the group in Bothell a few months ago and it has around 400 members.
"Our Bothell group is one of the largest and most active groups in the project and we are growing every day," Heyer said.
People can post on the group page if they have a need for something or post if they have something to offer. There is strictly no money exchanged and no strings attached to giving or receiving. The Bothell group also has a Lending Library were members are welcome to "check out" items that they may need then return them. This way they don't have to spend money on something they would only use once a year or for a specific project.
"It has been amazing seeing the impacts that the group has made and how it is changing lives of it's Bothell members in profound ways," Heyer said. "The real wealth is the people involved and the web of connections that forms to support them."
Heyer said she has made many new friendships from interacting with people on the Buy Nothing Project page.
"When we exchange or give items to each other, we don't mail them; people come to the home and have an interaction while getting their items," Heyer said. "The goal is to get people outside, out of their homes and interacting with one another."
The project is for anyone, but it can be a great resource for those struggling in the downward economy.
"This is a safe place for someone to post something like, 'my husband lost his job and we don't have enough money to buy our child a Christmas present,'" Heyer said. "Someone will respond to them, encourage them and provide them with a present or something."
If too many people want an item, Heyer said she does a drawing and picks a winner.
"We wish we could give everyone absolutely anything they want but sometimes we have to filter," she said. "We do a drawing to make everything fair."
The Buy Nothing Project encourages sustainable practices as well.
"Our mantra is that almost anything can be reused," Heyer said. "So people are encouraged to come here instead of going out and buying something new."
For more information, visit the Bothell group at www.facebook.com/groups/516680355089961/.