Buy Nothing Project offers gifting opportunities in La Crosse, nationwide

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — The Buy Nothing project is a nationwide but hyper-local initiative to help people save money and build community, and it’s here in the Coulee Region.

Members of the group can post items they hope to give away or post asking for items others may have. Group members said the project is about more than just gifting; it’s about the people.

“We probably have almost everything in the community that we need right here, it’s just a matter of finding the right people for it,” said Allie Sauppe, one of the group members.

When Sauppe had her son a month early, she reached out to the community.

“I asked in the group if anybody had a baby scale I could use to track his progress in growing,” Sauppe said. “One of the women who lent me something to help, she also brought a huge meal for my family right afterwards. Which was a huge help in a really difficult time for me.”

The Buy Nothing project, which Amanda Erpenbach begin administering in La Crosse in 2019, gives local communities space to do just that.

“But at least it gives you that little bit of interaction with neighbors you might not necessarily ever meet in the little day-to-day activities you have outside your house right now,” Erpenbach said.

Those who are seeking or giving are asked to offer a reason. That way, people can get to know each other and gift to who they feel needs it most.

“To have help from my community, but also to grow a more closer-knit community,” Sauppe said.

Group member Marcia DuCharne was a member of the Buy Nothing Project in Idaho. When she moved back to Wisconsin, she reached out to her group there for help.

“I was able to get in contact with people that had just moved, and were needing those boxes out of their home. 

When she returned, she was able to give boxes to those in need here in La Crosse.

There are Buy Nothing Project groups across the country. The project also has an app..

You can join local groups on Facebook. Some local groups include La Crosse, Holmen, Onalaska and Winona.