HAWTHORNE, NJ - The "Buy Nothing Project" is a worldwide phenomenon that began in 2013, when two friends in Washington state, Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark, started a social experiment. Their goal - to create a hyper-local gifting economy. It has since spread all around the world through Facebook groups, and Hawthorne residents have been taking advantage of all it has to offer them.

After becoming a member of the "Buy Nothing Hawthorne" Facebook group, one is able to either post items they no longer desire or request items that they need. Items range from outgrown baby toys to clothing, to appliances and furniture, and even to food. This can not only save families the time and money that accompanies purchasing items, but also helps keep them safe in their homes during a peak pandemic time period.  

Resident Rachel Ace-Pellettere shared with TAPinto Hawthorne how joining this group has impacted not only her life but the lives of others. "While decluttering, I decided to post items I no longer needed on the Buy Nothing group page because I wanted to help families in need.  I know some people are struggling due to the pandemic and wanted to help."  She said that the group is truly a give and take.  "In return, I have also gotten great stuff for my own family by other members, which is wonderful!"

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Members often find themselves making connections that can turn into friendships within their own town. According to the original website www.buynothingproject.org, they state that "whether people join because they'd like to [declutter] or simply to save money by getting things for free, they quickly discover that our groups are not just another free recycling platform. A gift economy's real wealth is the people involved and the web of connections that forms to support them."

Administrator Jami Slaton created the group in 2019 for Hawthorne after previously being part of seven other Buy Nothing Project groups in other states. She shared her thoughts on how the Buy Nothing Project has impacted the community of Hawthorne. "Through word of mouth alone, we have grown to over 1,800 members in 16 months, and average 120 new items gifted and requested a day.  During COVID, it has been a major source of help to neighbors out of work and needing some additional support for their family. Food, clothing, home office supplies, toilet paper, cleaning products, gift cards, and workout equipment were the most comment gifts last spring. I’ve been contacted by countless neighbors grateful for the help and support Buy Nothing has given them."

Families who are struggling are able to privately message members offering much needed goods, in order to maintain confidentiality. During the uncertain times of COVID, it can be comforting for families to know that there is a community of support just a click away. 

Residents interested in joining this project can search for the "Buy Nothing Hawthorne" group on Facebook. Administrators will confirm that the person joining is a resident of Hawthorne prior to being able to access the group. 

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