Gina Ciliberto: Mutual Aid is Changing the Way We Help Each Other

Sojourners | 8/27/2021

When Lindsay Strannigan had extra canned goods, she didn’t want to throw them away. So she posted the cans in a local Buy Nothing group, a Facebook group where members exchange goods free of charge within their neighborhoods. To her surprise, the canned goods were picked up quickly.

“I remember I had this vanilla cantaloupe jam and all this stuff I would never think to can,” Strannigan told Sojourners. “I put out a call on Buy Nothing and my neighbors showed up and wanted my canned goods. They were excited about all the weird oddities.”

The small step into Buy Nothing would expand for Strannigan. She eventually became an administrator for the Brentwood-Darlington group in Portland, Ore. And over time, she formed bonds with her neighbors that exceeded simply passing along extra food: When Strannigan learned through the group that one of her neighbors was diagnosed with leukemia, the members set up a meal train and dropped off other needed items at her home. When Strannigan and her husband both lost their jobs during the pandemic, they found themselves supported by the community.

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