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Arkansas’s online gifting organizations are making a difference



Little Rock, Arkansas – Thanks to social media, the idea of “neighbors helping neighbors” is spreading further than ever.

Online “Community Gifting Groups,” also referred to as “Buy Nothing Groups,” are places where neighbors offer one another free goods.

All around Central Arkansas, hyper-local groups are growing in popularity as a result of making people’s life a little bit simpler.

People in your community are available to assist you, whether you want to add to or clean out your closet.

“I think it’s a great cycle to have in each community,” Group Member Samantha Tomlinson said.

Locals oversee the groups and require your consent to a set of guidelines before you can join. For instance, you can only take part from a personal Facebook profile and must reside in a particular region.

In January, just before giving birth to her daughter, Tomlinson joined the Facebook group for the West Little Rock Community Gifting.

After delivering birth, she requested assistance.

“I needed work blouses after having a baby,” Tomlinson said. “My body is not the same anymore. My shirts weren’t fitting the same, so I went on there, and I asked for some work blouses and explained my situation.”

The call was answered by Dora Bailey.

“I had a lady, Dora, who also gave me the blouse I’m wearing now, so I was super thankful,” Tomlinson said. “She also gave me a letter of encouragement, some soup and some chocolate.”

Bailey claimed that her desire to assist is driven by personal experience.

“I know that, having lived through that four times now like what this mom needs,” Baily said. “Whether or not she’s asking for it.”

It ended up being just what Tomlinson required.

“My husband’s like, ‘You got chocolate in here,’ I was like, what?” Tomlinson said. “I was like, ‘It’s dove chocolate.’ I went crazy for it. We were super excited… definitely when you’re going through postpartum; it’s a lot, so to know that women in our community understand that, I didn’t feel so alone.”

Tomlinson gave Bailey something in exchange later.

“She posted a wish for a Columbia jacket, and I was like, you know what, I have one I haven’t worn in a while. Let me see if she wants it,” Tomlinson said. “I ended up messaging her… it’s crazy how the world aligned for us to do that.”

It goes beyond just giving, too. The club offers a chance to make new friends and aids some individuals in starting over.

“There was an instance where someone’s house just burned down, and they were like, ‘These are their kids’ sizes; this is what they need,'” Bailey said. “They need everything.”

The comments then began to pour in.

“People are just coming together for the greater good,” Bailey said. “I think it is probably my favorite part.”

The group benefits instructors as much as it benefits parents.

“For my class, I usually ask for anything,” Second Grade Teacher Karla Sewell said.

Estem East Village Elementary teacher Sewell claimed that the club had been of great assistance.

“I’ve gotten everything in these baskets,” Sewell said. “It’s like wooden blocks, board games; I also have toys for indoor recess.”

Even with their courses, Sewell assists her coworkers.

“Especially like when I get books,” Sewell said. “Sometimes there might be doubles in there.”

Sewell feels motivated to give back because she has been given so much.
“I just like helping others,” Sewell said. “I think it’s important that others give to each other.”

After two EF-3 tornadoes hit Arkansas on March 31, several neighbors have shifted their focus to assist those impacted.


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