What do you do with a dress that has a tear? With a toaster that no longer works? Or, a knife that has lost its sharp edge? Toss it? No way! The Access Community Action Agency’s Windham Area Hour Exchange and the Town of Mansfield Recycling Coordinator are organizing the region’s first Repair Café Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 9:00am-1:00pm at the First Congregational Church’s Arnold Auditorium, 199 Valley Street, Willimantic.
A Repair Café is a free event during which volunteer “fixers” are available to help make all possible repairs free of charge except for the cost of replacement parts. People visiting the Repair Café can bring their broken items from home. Toasters, lamps, hair dryers, clothes, bikes, toys, crockery — anything that is broken is welcome and can more than likely be repaired. The fixers in Repair Café almost always have the know-how.
Members of the community interested in volunteering to be fixers for this or future Repair Café events are asked to contact Virginia Walton, Mansfield Recycling Coordinator, at (860) 423-3333, firstname.lastname@example.org. Members of the Windham Area Hour Exchange who provide repair services at the event will earn “time dollars” for their efforts. Individuals handy at repair in the areas of sewing, furniture, electrical appliances, electronics, bicycles, blade sharpening, small engines, tools, ceramics, and more are welcome.
By promoting repairs, the organizers want to help reduce mountains of waste from throughout the region. According to Town of Mansfield Recycling Coordinator, Virginia Walton, “We throw away piles of stuff – even things which practically have nothing wrong with them and could easily be used again after a simple repair. Unfortunately, many of us do not know how to make repairs. Repair Café wants to change all that.”
The Repair Café is also meant to put neighbors in touch with each other in a new way that celebrates the fact that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home. Access’s Windham Area Hour Exchange Director, Kate Fortier, notes, “If you repair a bike or mend a garment together with a previously unfamiliar neighbor, you will look at that person in a different light the next time you run into them. And, you may just learn something about your own capabilities you’d never realized before!”
Ms. Fortier points out that while repairs can save money and resources, and can help minimize carbon dioxide emissions, “Above all, the Repair Café model aims at showing how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.”
The Hour Exchange and the Mansfield Recycling Coordinator plan to organize additional Repair Cafés on a regular basis; news about dates and locations of up-and-coming editions will follow as soon as possible!