In December of 2020, Melissa Hall was inspired by a post on Facebook.

"It was in a local moms group, and it just said if you have something you don't need anymore, why don't we create a thread and you can post what you have and if you don't need it, maybe somebody else will." said Hall.

Hall started the group Buy Nothing, Pay Forward Everything Erie.

It's a thread where people can give and receive each other's items, without exchanging any money.

"It’s a huge need,” said the site’s moderator Danielle Jones. “We've got single moms, we've got families in Corry, Waterford and Edinboro and it's all over, people needing things all the time."

From children clothes and books, to furniture and food, there is something for everyone.

"You really can do whatever you want, just take a picture of the item you don't need anymore,” said Hall. “Post it online, and then you just make arrangements and you put a post, put it outside your house and they can come and pick it up."

Over the past thirteen months, the group has rapidly grown to 7,000 members.

Jones says the response has been moving.

"It's a tremendous help,” said Jones. “I've even needed things and I've even picked up things for single moms who don't drive and went and picked it up and dropped it off to them, because they need it so badly.”

Jones says the acts of generosity are helping build a stronger community.

“If you have anything, join the site, find it on Facebook, and don't put it on the curb,” said Jones. “Put it on Facebook so that somebody who does need it and isn't going to resell it, can put it to use."

More information on the group is available here.

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.