Sandy Hill freebies

A Facebook group allows members to share

Dancia Kendra Susilo

In times of isolation, financial hardship, and stressful news, it can be difficult to maintain a positive perspective. Luckily, the “Buy Nothing Sandy Hill, Ottawa, ON” group on Facebook is active and bountiful. This group gives hope, help, and happiness for people throughout the neighbourhood during these precarious times.

Members can make a post on the group page, listing what they have to offer for free. Items can generally range from food, to clothes, to furniture, to pet accessories. People are also allowed to post a request, asking others if they are in need of a particular item. However, there are restrictions at times due to the pandemic. This is moderated by the group admins who must approve the listing before it is published in the group. Other members can comment on what they would like and the member who receives the item is selected by whoever listed the items. Selections can be made by the following methods: first come, first served; a draw using a digital randomizer; or necessity. The items are then exchanged through pick up or delivery, with COVID-19 guidelines in effect.

Members of the “Buy Nothing Sandy Hill, Ottawa, ON” have enjoyed connecting with fellow members of the community, feeling better established in this neighbourhood. This is especially true for people who have recently moved to Ottawa for educational or professional purposes and do not know anyone here. The generosity of members and compassion of everyone involved creates happiness. Whether providing free items, receiving free items, or watching the transaction, people have a sense of joy. It feels eunoic [from eunoia, which the online Cambridge dictionary defines as “a feeling of goodwill, being friendly and wanting to help”] knowing people in the community care about one another.

This community kindness has encouraged many people to stay in the neighbourhood and form better relationships with their neighbours. Not only does this reinforce mental wellness, but it is also more eco-friendly and creates a sustainable way of living. Rather than discarding items that would otherwise end up in landfills, other people can make use of these items. The majority of items are functional and used for their intended purpose, but this can also be a great way to find materials to reuse in different ways. Some items can be used for art projects or recreated into a new tool.

A few members who have lived in various neighbourhoods mentioned that there are similar groups throughout Ottawa. However, they noted that “Buy Nothing Sandy Hill, Ottawa, ON” is the most welcoming. This comforting feeling encourages more interactions and listings. It makes people more willing to help out other members of the community who are in need. This altruistic drive doesn’t end at undesired items. People often loan items, trade, or volunteer their time. As one member describes it, “We are promoting a circular economy with a dose of kindness.”

Those who are not members are encouraged to join and interact with fellow group members. It is a great way to learn about the community and feel connected with others. This community generosity is not to be taken for granted and we are lucky to be living in a wonderful neighbourhood. Promoting an earth-friendly and neighbourhood-friendly solution to wastefulness and clutter, “Buy Nothing Sandy Hill, Ottawa, ON” is an incredible group to join.

Stephanie and Louie trading dog toys with Dancia and Chipper
Photo Chris McDonald