Seeing the mad rush for toilet paper and flour at the grocery stores, she started a bartering Facebook group in March for her Southern California city of Ventura so neighbors could trade for fresh fruit, paper towels or anything else they needed. Her bartering currency of choice is bread, and she once traded avocados for yeast to make it.

Calhoun’s group, which has gained more than 4,600 members in seven weeks, is one of a growing handful of similar groups sprinkled across the country from western Montana to southern Nevada. They represent a broader rise in bartering as grocery stores run out of goods and people share what they have. Those partaking say it keeps them out of crowded shops and saves a bit of money. But just as important, it’s a way to feel helpful during the pandemic.

In Frisco, Tex., Greg Bair traded freshly baked sourdough bread for the use of a neighbor’s wheat grinder. In southern Maryland, Lyn Cianflocco traded rolls of toilet paper for much-needed dish soap. In Fresno, Calif., Ashley Hughes picked up lemons from a neighbor and returned three days later with marmalade.