Buy Nothing Lakewood Brings Small Town Feel To Big City

Buy Nothing Lakewood member Brandi Larsen performs wedding ceremony on Brooklyn Bridge for fellow members Brittany & Nick Davies.

Lakewood is known for being one of the larger cities in Cuyahoga County. In fact, it is the most dense city in the state. The over 50,000 person population of Lakewood is not preventing residents from creating the small town feel by encouraging interactions with their neighbors through sharing goods, services, and experiences. One of the ways they are able to create this environment is through their participation in the global Facebook phenomenon of the Buy Nothing Project.  

The Buy Nothing Project’s Mission, according to their website: “We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.”

While the Buy Nothing Project started in 2013, Buy Nothing Lakewood started in late 2017. The key concept around Buy Nothing is to create hyper localized neighborhoods where they work together to cut down on waste while also helping their community.  

Jen Collins commented, “It’s like the old adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ The Buy Nothing group has become our village.”

Roz Matthews added, “It is nice to see ‘some people’s trash is another person’s treasure’ put into action.”

The most popular event is their weekly “Wish Wednesday.” A thread is started by one of the admins early Wednesday morning, and members post items or services they need. Members will also peruse the thread to see if there is anything they can give to someone in need. Examples for requests have been seasonal items, hand me down clothing, and even acts of service like moving a dresser or jumping a car battery.

“We all strive to help each other out in any way we can. We are a modern way of ‘borrowing sugar from your neighbor.'”  Charlotte Minniti continues, “Simple acts of kindness make a huge impact on a community.  I can’t think of a better way to get to know those who live around you”

Some achievements the group is most proud of are creating a meal train when a member was injured, helping furnish a home for a citizen in need, and even having fun events like toy or clothing swaps to help members conserve money. One member even accompanied two other members to New York City so she could perform their wedding ceremony on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Due to the popularity of Buy Nothing Lakewood, the group decided to split. Buy Nothing feels that to maintain the success of the group, keeping membership to a manageable number (approximately 800) in a specific geographic area increases participation. When this happens a new group “sprouts.”  

“While a sprout can potentially feel like a fracture in the group, it actually means more growth, allowing new neighbors a chance to form these friendships,” noted Nicole Leffew.

There are currently two Buy Nothing Groups in Lakewood, Buy Nothing East and Buy Nothing West. Buy Nothing East was the original group that formed in Lakewood. Currently, the dividing line is Warren Road.  

“I hope more residents of Lakewood will find out about this group. We are committed to helping each other and building relationships!” exclaimed Rachael Gibbons.

If you would like to join one of the groups, you can search Buy Nothing Lakewood East or Buy Nothing Lakewood West. There are a few questions asked to verify your location and keep the group safe. You can also reach out to one of their administrators.

Buy Nothing Lakewood East Admin

Kristel Smith

Buy Nothing Lakewood West Admins

Rachael Gibbons

Nicole Leffew

Roz Matthews

Charlotte Minniti

Bradley Presutto

Brad Presutto - Lakewood resident since 2005

Read More on Lakewood Living
Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 4:27 PM, 02.18.2020