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Lakewood neighbors connect with 'Buy Nothing' gift economy project

Lakewood neighbors connect with 'Buy Nothing' gift economy project
Posted at 4:49 PM, Jan 27, 2022

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — What if you could get almost anything you needed delivered to your doorstep for free? That’s what a group of Lakewood residents are doing as part of the Buy Nothing project. But the movement is less about just receiving gifts and more about bringing communities together.

“We're a group that tries to connect our neighbors, and one of the ways that we do that is through helping our neighbors find items that they need, give items that they need, lend items that they need,” said Babette Gowda, an admin of the Buy Nothing Lakewood West Facebook group.

Buy Nothing is a national movement formed back in 2013. The idea is to create hyperlocal gift economies where neighbors can ask and give each other items without exchanging any money–just gratitude.

“One of the things that really touched me is seeing the community rally together when someone is in need. So whether or not they needed some food or clothing, whether it was a disaster, they had a fire. They lost a job,” said Gowda.

It's not just limited to what people already have around the house.

“Today I'm dropping off some food for a friend in the group,” said Cheryl Layshock, another admin of the Buy Nothing Lakewood West Facebook group.

Layshock picked up food at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s weekly food distribution Thursday to deliver them to her neighbor Nicole Leffew.

“It’s nice because I know that their families are being fed, my family's being fed, you know, it definitely feels good,” said Layshock.

Leffew founded the Buy Nothing Lakewood West Facebook group. She used to make deliveries along with Layshock, but had to step down due to medical reasons.

“I have been in positions at times where it's a struggle for things and I realized the potential you know of bringing the community together. So I thought that it was an awesome concept,” said Leffew.

Now, she’s even more grateful for the community she helped create and the good they do for each other.

“One of the things that I enjoy seeing is occasionally someone will pop in and say, you know, they've gotten sick and other members will offer to drop off soup or, ‘Do you need any cleaning supplies or toilet paper?’ and you'll find those things dropped off on your porch,” said Leffew. “It's very nice. It's amazing. I'm so glad. I love it so much.”

More information about the Buy Nothing project can be found here.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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