The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley held a Bolton Repair Cafe on January 26, 2019 at the Florence Sawyer School in Bolton. More than 80 brought a variety of items in need of repair, which more than two dozen "fixer" volunteers sought to repair.
To view a video of this Bolton Repair Cafe, click here.
 To view photos of this Bolton Repair Cafe, click here.
At the Repair Café, everything centers on making repairs. Knowledgeable "fixer" volunteers help repair items such as clean mendable clothing, lamps, small appliances, computers and other electronics, bikes, and toys. They can also sharpen knives, scissors, and garden tools. We cannot work on outdoor power equipment in the winter. You pay only for needed parts. If you know which parts are needed, please get them ahead of time and bring them to the Repair Café, to save time.
The fixers will look at all items brought in, and try to repair them. When they cannot repair something, they will offer advice on whether the item is fixable, and if so, where you could go for repairs. Unlike a "fix-it" shop, where people drop off items to be repaired and continue about their day, the Repair Café is meant to get people involved with the repair process and create connections with others in the community.
When you bring in items for repair, we ask you to stay while your items are being fixed. You can just watch, help with the repair, fix the item yourself with help from volunteers, or just have a snack and visit with neighbors. You can also bring either your children or your grandchildren so they can work on taking something apart at the supervised take-apart table, to see how it works. Putting things back together and fixing things are not expected.
Promoting repairs will help reduce mountains of waste, according to organizer Ray Pfau (shown on left, in photo at left) a member of the Nashoba Valley club. "We throw away lots of things that often have almost nothing wrong with them -things that could easily be used again after a simple repair," he adds. "Unfortunately, many people have forgotten that they can fix things. The 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. "Neighbors may discover that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home. Pfau notes, "If you repair a bike, a CD player, or a pair of trousers with previously unfamiliar neighbors, you look at them in a different light the next time you see them. Jointly making repairs can lead to connections in the community. Making repairs can also save money and resources."
There are now 29 groups running repair events in Massachusetts. Fourteen are Repair Cafes, 11 are Fixit Clinics, and four are independent events, not under either the Repair Cafe or the Fixit Clinic umbrella. Our club runs the Repair Cafes in Bolton and Sudbury, and our Repair Cafe program helps other groups in the area and in the state to run repair events.
To learn more on the Bolton Repair Cafe, and on upcoming Repair Cafes and Fixit Clinics in Massachusetts, click here.
Video: Steve Jones-D'Agostino; Photos: Catherine Pfau and Steve Jones-D'Agostino.