Repair Cafe a hit with Reusers

Grey Bears hosted a Repair Café on April 12 led by a group of 13 talented volunteer fix-it coaches. Hunched around work tables with tools ready, they helped a steady stream of more than 90 people repair a variety of broken household treasures – from turntables, music boxes, lamps, and toaster ovens, to computers, barbecues, tools, clothes, toys, and even a rain stick.


Carol Skolnick watches fix-it coach Gregg Ferry disassemble her toaster oven at the Grey Bears Repair Café April 12.

Carol Lacy brought in a toaster that she has had since 1969. “I just can’t part with it,” she said as she sat down with volunteer fix-it coach Oskar Leuthold, ready to learn by watching and doing. They tested it by toasting a slice of bread on the spot.

Seamstress Lisa Ford worked with Ed Weingold. “They brought new life to shirts that I love,” he exclaimed. “What a beautiful thing.”

A now working bird feeder and music tuner brought in by Robby Labovitz, a repeat participant, said, “It’s my favorite thing to do.” Carol Skolnick brought in her toaster oven. “They helped me repair it so now I know how to do it myself,” she beamed.

With the goal of reusing and educating, and judging by the many requests to hold them more often, the Repair Café was a huge success. Grey Bears, whose mission is to improve the health and well being of seniors through volunteerism and community participation, has worked in environmental preservation, recycling and conserving food resources for 40 years.