Give what you can

We don’t have the kind of budget that allows for a lot of charitable giving. I always hope someday we will be in that place where we can volunteer our money, even our time. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for that right now. But there is something I have been doing for over a year now that I realized is a great form of giving back. There is a group of Facebook called Buy Nothing. It is THE reason I haven’t quit Facebook yet. This group keeps pulling me back for more than one reason.

The full name of these groups is “The Buy Nothing Project” and details can be found here:

The website describes their concept as random acts of kindness and giving to others in your community.  It feels like what we really need in the world right now. In a time when we can feel disconnected from the people we live right next to, but talk every day to our sister or friend who lives across the country or world… sometimes we need new ideas like this to connect us to our communities. Groups are organized by where you live, into local neighborhoods. If there isn’t one for where you live you can start one! The group encourages you to give to your fellow neighbors, and not just THINGS but services too! You can also go on the site to ask for things you need. Sometimes its as low pressure as seeing if anyone has something lying around before you go buy it yourself. Sometimes, though, you see your own neighbors really needing help! It could be to help them fix their fence or to outfit their entire nursery because they just can’t afford all the things their baby on the way needs. And if there is one thing parents CAN help with it’s giving away the stuff we don’t need for our own kids anymore. That is where you see the most giving – kid stuff. And isn’t that where so much need sprouts from? It’s a really wonderful place of give and receive from the community you live in.

While a lot of the time I defer to “porch pick up” at my house because kids keep me too busy for the interaction, there have been plenty of times I do get to chat with neighbors and it is priceless! There was the time I gave away some fudge because I brought back WAY too much from a trip. That neighbor was beside herself excited. Or the time I lent a neighbor our infant Ewok costume for May the Fourth. We bonded over that.

I never thought a lot about my participation in this group until this morning. While my kids ate breakfast I went to the garage and brought up books, clothes, our old nursery mobile… laid them on the floor and started snapping photos to put on the Facebook group page. My oldest asked what I was doing. I explained the group to him and he listened quietly then said “that’s so nice mom”! And it IS so nice, and so simple and a way of giving back I can easily participate in. Every kind of giving is wonderful, and I really get joy out of helping my direct community.

And wait… I didn’t even mention when I get given things!! You never know what item you might find on your local group that is the thing you were looking for. We have sitting in our garage right now a battery powered car for our son. It is the kind of thing I would NEVER buy… they are expensive and fun for such a short time. But a neighbor’s kids had outgrown it. It needs a new battery and we will figure out how to change it and voila an awesome birthday gift for our kid!

So if you feel like giving back a little, have a look for a group near you. If you don’t have one take the steps to start one!

Have a great Friday! Go give a little kindness this weekend!

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