Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley is recruiting volunteers and support to create a local “Repair Cafe,” a gathering place for people with “beloved but broken” items and those with a desire, and possibly the means, to repair them.
Repair Cafes, which first appeared in Amsterdam, are places where anyone can bring in broken items or things needing repair: jewelry, dolls, toys, clothing, appliances, furniture, electronics—anything except gas engines.
Volunteer “repair coaches” assess the broken items and repair them if possible. There are no guarantees that an item can be repaired, and no charges, although donations are accepted.
“We’re looking for mechanically oriented people, retirees, engineers, tinkerers, hobbyists and anyone with an interest in sharing their knowledge and expertise to support their community,” said Shelley Fortier, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley.
She described how Habitat also extends the lifespans of home furnishings and supports home improvements through the sale of furniture, fixtures, tools and materials at the ReStore in Christiansburg.
“We even have an ambition of creating a tool lending library, to enable people to make repairs and improvements without making big investments in tools they may use only once or twice. These efforts all work together to reduce waste, promote sustainability, create opportunities for self-sufficiency and bring the community together … just like the houses we build and sell to qualifying homeowners,” Fortier said.
There are more than 1,100 Repair Cafes in nearly 30 countries, including in 11 states in the United States.
For more information or if you are interested in participating in a local Repair Cafe, contact Shelley Fortier, executive director, Habitat for Humanity of the New River Valley, at 381-1144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Submitted by Bobby Parker