Think repair is a lost art? Not in this town.
Local volunteers will gather this weekend to repair household items for free – and teach repair skills – at an event organized by the Cville TimeBank.
Cville Repair Café, the second community-wide event of its kind, will be held on Saturday, March 5, from noon to 4:00 PM at the IX Events Hall, 522 2nd St SE in downtown Charlottesville
People from all over the area are invited to bring broken items for free evaluation and repair. Volunteer fixers will bring their tools, give advice, and make repairs – all in an effort to put items back in everyday use and keep them out of the landfill.
“Most of us have broken stuff at home,” says Repair Café Coordinator Ann Marie Hohenberger.
“People want to get things fixed, but they’re not sure how. It seems easier to throw out the old stuff and buy something new instead. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
“We have practical skills and know-how right here in the community. We can save dozens of items from ending up in the trash, and save money for their owners.”
The March 5 event will feature repair stations for household appliances, clothing, small pieces of furniture, jewelry, toys, bikes and more.
Visitors are encouraged to sit down and watch the repair – and maybe learn how to do it themselves.
The event will feature mini workshops on simple repairs. In 20-30 minutes, visitors can learn essential skills including:
Maintain a vacuum (12:30pm, John Rubino) – Learn how to open up your vacuum and clean out the gunk. A vacuum that won't suck is often just clogged, not broken.
Fix a flat bike tire (1pm, Annie Dunckel, Community Bikes) – Learn how to patch a hole in your bike's inner tube or replace a ruined tube. An essential skill when you're out on the road.
Reduce household waste (1:30pm, Rose Brown, Zero Garbage Challenge) – Learn how to take your garbage reduction to the next level by composting, reducing, reusing and recycling. Rose will be giving away zero garbage workbooks and wallet cards.
Rewire a lamp (2pm, Peter Markush) – Learn how to replace the electrical cord on a lamp. This basic technique can be applied to other electrical appliances, too.
Replace a button (2:30pm, Carla Quenneville, Les Fabriques) – Learn how to replace a missing button on your shirt, pants, or coat. Everyone needs this skill, and anyone can learn it.
Darn a sock (3pm, Lorrie Delehanty) – Learn how to mend a hole by darning. Extend the life of your favorite wool socks and sweaters.
Charlottesville Community Bikes will run a hands-on repair station both to fix bicycles and to teach repair skills.
Specialty repair services include smartphone repair estimates, brass and woodwind instrument evaluation, computer advice, fine jewelry evaluation, garden tool sharpening, and book repair.
Some types of items will not be fixed at the Repair Café. Organizers ask attendees not to bring microwave ovens, TVs, or lawn equipment.
In keeping with the concept of a café, there will be free food and drink donated by local businesses.
Families with children are encouraged to attend. The event will include an arts & crafts table and a scavenger hunt with prizes for kids.
At the first Cville Repair Café in November 2015, nearly 100 broken, torn or otherwise unusable items were evaluated and repaired – including numerous vacuum cleaners, articles of clothing, pieces of jewelry, broken pottery and small items of furniture.
“It was such a positive, happy event,” says Hohenberger. “We can’t wait to do it again.”
The Repair Café concept arose in Amsterdam in 2009 and has spread all over the world, coming up with new and creative ways to salvage perfectly usable things.
Charlottesville’s Repair Café is sponsored by the Cville TimeBank, a reciprocal service exchange organization whose members earn and exchange “timedollars” by helping one another.
“Our members have a wealth of skills to share,” says Cville TimeBank Co-chair Kathy Kildea.
“The Repair Café helps people get out into the community and put their skills to use. It’s great fun for the volunteers.
“The Repair Café project embodies many of the core values of timebanking. All work has value, and the community is strengthened when people invest time and effort into other people.”
The Cville Repair Café is funded in part by a grant from the Center For a New American Dream, awarded through a nationwide competition in 2015. Cville TimeBank will accept donations at the event and through the online fundraising site GoFundMe. Supporters can give online atwww.gofundme.com/CvilleRepairCafe.