Repair Café comes to the Manitou Art Center, provides free expertise and tools


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One of the greatest challenges facing people living in poverty or living on a budget is the tendency of objects — important objects like electronics and appliances, or everyday objects like hairdryers and cookware — to break. The rich may fry a computer’s hard-drive, give it up for lost and shell out a few thousand for a new Macbook. Others, who may use that computer to generate their scant income, don’t have that luxury, nor do they often have the resources, knowledge or money to repair these broken objects themselves.

Which is why the Repair Café provides a priceless service. The Repair Café concept, now the Repair Café Foundation, began in 2009 in the Netherlands. It’s a simple model: folks bring in their damaged electronics, appliances, furniture, equipment, clothing or whatever else, and a group of volunteers with different specialties help them learn how to make money-saving repairs, teaching them valuable, sustainable skills in the process.

Plus, Repair Cafés are meant to help cut down on waste. Local Repair Café organizer Dale Collins says: "We throw away piles of stuff in The United States, even things which practically have nothing wrong with them, and which could easily be used again after a simple repair. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten that they can have things repaired. Repair Café wants to change all that."

The best part? It’s all free, supported by the foundation.

A Repair Café will be set up at the Manitou Art Center this weekend (July 16, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) with tools and materials on-hand for anyone who needs them, plus mountains of expertise.
Soon, this event will be held on a regular basis, though dates and times are still incoming.

The Café will be first-come, first-served, with attendees taking a number as they arrive. Folks are encouraged to bring anything broken or damaged, even if they feel it is beyond fixing. “The Repair Café specialists almost always have the know-how,” the event’s press release says.

If you can't make it to the MAC this weekend, keep an eye on the Indy’s event listings for future Repair Café events.

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