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Repair Café on the mend

More than 55 people filled the church community room with broken items in their hands. They were ready to learn how to fix their prized possessions at the Repair Café.

This is the third year New Paltz United Methodist Church in New York has hosted the bimonthly events, inviting people from the community to bring in their broken items and learn how to repair them.

Church member John Wackman found the idea in articles in the New York Times and AARP magazine. "This was born out of Amsterdam, Holland," he said. "The Dutch are interested in sustainability and an architect and journalist came up with the idea."

Wackman told his pastor, the Rev. Betty Sohm, about his idea. She liked the idea of having a Repair Café at the church.

Skilled volunteers staffed tables set up in the community room. People at one table taught as they helped repair electronics and mechanical items. Seamstresses had their sewing machines and helped people repair clothes, dolls and stuffed animals. Young volunteers from local high schools and colleges sat at the digital table and helped fix phones, laptops and other digital devices. Woodworkers helped repair cherished wooden items.

Wackman said the church members not only helped to repair items for free, but they also extended hospitality by serving coffee, tea, homemade baked goods and fruit. At lunchtime, Wackman treated everyone to pizza.

Repair Café began in New Paltz in 2013. Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church in Kingston, New York, also offers the service, as do five other churches of different denominations.

"You will be shoulder-to-shoulder with people," he said. "A lot of stuff gets fixed and people leave happy," said Wackman.

For information on starting a Repair Café, contact Wackman at [email protected].

AT A GLANCE New Paltz United Methodist Church | 1 Grove Street, New Paltz, NY 12561 | 845-255-5210 | [email protected] || Rev. Bette Sohm | Average Attendance: 53 | New York Conference 

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