Two months ago, a young mother living at Motel 6 in Farmington Hills reached out for help in a local Facebook group created to connect neighbors through the spirit of generosity.
Aria (not her real name) had escaped an abusive relationship with her children, ages 5 and 3. She was paying for the room with her unemployment check, but the money was nearly gone. A friend suggested that she join a Farmington area “Buy Nothing” group, which encourages sharing items among members.
Her simple request sparked an avalanche of generosity that helped Aria and her small family on the road to a new start in life.
Over the past two months, more than 40 families in Buy Nothing and its sister group, Farmington Neighborhood Chat, sent cash, clothing, and food. Last week, Buy Nothing group administrator Roxana Barnett took a carful of gifts to Aria’s new home.
“It just kind of exploded,” Barnett said. “Some families amazed me with their generosity. One woman paid for three nights (at Motel 6).”
Launched about six years ago, Buy Nothing Farmington quickly grew and split into two groups, West and East. Members post items they want to “gift”or to receive, making the exchanges more personal and fun.
Administrators created the Neighborhood Chat group for conversations that strayed from the Buy Nothing mission. Residents share advice, recommendations and referrals, and posts about community events.
‘They just want to help’
When Aria’s request to join Buy Nothing came through, Barnett decided to share with the Neighborhood Chat group, because the situation was so dire. She has also shared the story of a father in one of the Buy Nothing groups who is living in difficult circumstances. Group members have been generous; one even made a late-night diaper run for him.
“I’ve lived here 17 years, and I don’t know my immediate neighbors as well as I’ve known some of the members in the group,” Barnett said. “There’s so many people who care, and that’s been so wonderful to see. They don’t need to ask a lot of questions. They just want to help.”
Aria now lives with a relative who is helping her get back on her feet and has sent heartfelt notes of gratitude. Barnett shared this one with the group:
“I really don’t wanna say this is the first time God did me a favor. I just know this was the first time in my life my back was against the wall & I was praying for a blessing but he gave me a miracle instead.”
To learn more or join one of the groups, apply through Facebook: Buy Nothing West (west of Farmington Road) or Buy Nothing East (east of Farmington Road). Once you’re a Buy Nothing member, you can join Farmington Neighborhood Chat.