Story by Shelley R. Clapper
The Warwick Repair Café recently celebrated its second anniversary. To mark the occasion Orange County Legislator Barry Cheney presented a certificate of appreciation to the Repair Café volunteers. Certificates were also presented by Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton and Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard at the Warwick Senior Center.
Mary Makofske, from Sustainable Warwick, described Elizabeth Knight Moss as “the genius behind the Repair Café.”
Moss, the main organizer, said, “As Orange County’s first Repair Café, we’ve grown from nine volunteer repair coaches serving 40 people to nearly 28 volunteers serving anywhere from 73 to 139 members of the public.”
A Repair Café was established in Cornwall NY in 2017 and in Middletown NY in 2018. The first Repair Café began in Amsterdam in the Netherlands in 2009.
Moss explained that the volunteers’ efforts have been beneficial to the environment by keeping useful items out of the landfill, saving money and resources, minimizing carbon dioxide emissions and also helping to build community.
Tables throughout the Senior Center were labelled with the types of repairs available, ranging from bike repairs, jewelry repairs, knife and tool repairs and sharpening, clothing and textile repairs, “wooden things” repairs, electrical, mechanical, electronic and digital repairs. At one of the tables children were engrossed in taking apart items that cannot be repaired.
One father, Jim, brought his son Abel, who “likes rockets, but will happily take apart electronics too.”
Volunteer Roger Moss said, “I love working here. I love hearing people’s stories about why they like having their knives sharpened.”
Warwick resident Barbara Felton said that expecting a large crowd for Thanksgiving provided her with the incentive to have her knives sharpened.
The sense of community at the Repair Café was evident. Owners of the repaired items were extremely grateful and the environmental benefits the volunteers derived gave tremendous satisfaction.