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'Buy Nothing' Facebook pages gaining popularity in Hampton Roads

"Buy Nothing"
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Posted at 9:00 AM, Jun 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-10 20:42:18-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Facebook is a great place to share pictures and funny articles, but it can also be a lot more than that.

"Buy Nothing" Facebook pages are becoming more popular across Hampton Roads and the concept is exactly what the name suggests.

"If you have things you want to give away, you can post them, you choose a recipient. You can choose whoever you want," said Rebecca Flynn, a Buy Nothing Facebook page administrator.

The pages are available in nearly every city in our area, each pinpointing specific neighborhoods. For example, if you live in Greenbrier, you will join a different page than someone who lives in Jamestown.

Each have their own "team" of admins/moderators/group experts to make sure the content is sticking to protocol.

The reason that it's specific for communities is so people have a chance to meet their neighbors. The idea is that you post something to "gift away" and then you have the opportunity to meet someone new.

Administrators said, "our goal is not to get stuff, give stuff and get rid of stuff as quickly and efficiently as possible - our goal is to provide a space for neighbors to get to know each other and to minimize our impact on the environment by passing along our usable - and sometimes not-so-usable - items in the process."

People have exchanged everything from clothes for children to bedroom sets to a dehumidifier, but it's more than swapping items or giving things away for free.

"It's really about building a community," said administrator Kelly Hardey. "I've had people who 'wished' in my group, asking if members can send their Mom happy birthday cards for [turning 100 years old]. 100. Just to see if she could collect 100."

Rebecca Flynn is also an administrator and said it's incredibly rewarding to see the connections built from a Facebook page.

"It ends up being a lot more than just about the stuff. People get to know each other people get to know each other's families," said Flynn. "The other thing that we promote is, you know, if you're not chosen for something, post a wish, because you don't know who might have something in the group that they no longer want, that you're looking for, it saves you some money."

With high prices on just about everything, "Buy Nothing" can help save you some money.

However, there are rules you must follow if you're interested in joining because the administrators say it's important to maintain the integrity of the group.

"The transparency goes with everything. We like to have people choose the recipients on a post, we don't allow members to message each other without permission and that way, it keeps everything out in the open, no one's pressured, no one feels any guilt if they don't choose somebody."

You cannot solicit on the page and you also cannot sell what was given to you for free. Users also will have to answer a few questions before they're accepted to the page.

According to Hardey, aside from goods and services, there are a few other types of gifts that fit into the group's mission:

  • Gifts of self: A Gift of Self is something that one member can do for another. It could be an evening of babysitting, a ride for an errand, help in the garden, a request for a spiritual act like prayer or meditation, or anything else that one neighbor might do for another neighbor.
  • Gifts of talent: A Gift of Talent is anything that one member can teach another. Examples include: cooking or canning classes, computer lessons, tutoring or anything else that you would like to learn or teach.
  • Gifts of time: A Gift of time refers to offering or asking for someone to spend time with. Examples include: jogging/walking/workout buddies, coffee/tea meet-ups, play dates for kids or pets, organizing an activity for the members of your group. This does not include open invitations to attend events that are also advertised elsewhere and open to the public, unless the recipient will be attending as a guest (or date) of the giver.

Here are the Buy Nothing communities throughout Hampton Roads: