City’s first Repair Cafe a success

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Grit Works on Broadway was filled with tools and broken items on Saturday as experts got to work at Newburgh’s first Repair Cafe.

The room was filled with people bringing in household electronics, lamps, toys, coffee makers, TV’s and many other items they wanted to get fixed rather than thrown away.

The cafe is meant not only to repair items and help members of the community save money, but it also helps to clean the environment by reusing items rather than dumping into landfills when they break.

The event was organized by Orange County Legislator, Kevindaryan Lujan, Damian DePauw, Founder of Impact Inc., Eric Jarmann and  David Deleo with the assistance of Repair Cafes of the Hudson Valley. It was hosted by Grit Works and food was provided by Bliss.

“All of the things end up in landfills, in a community like Newburgh people don’t have the luxury to throw out and buy new things,” said Lujan. “We wanted this to be accessible, close to the buses and close to the population that needs these things.”

Nancy Colas held onto her microwave in the hopes that she would be able to fix it without spending the money to buy a new one. She came to the repair cafe and discovered that the microwave needed a new fuse, a 50 cent fix.

“I got to see how he fixed it, he was able to change it with a brand-new fuse,” said Colas. “I think it would be great to have more of these, where things get repaired, you save money and save the environment. It’s really amazing.”

Experts of mentors donated their time to work with members of the community to not only fix their items but to show them how they did it. Colas was excited to purchase the tools used by her mentor so she can fix other items in her home.

In the crowd of people with broken items was Councilman Anthony Grice and his son. He brought in a TV that he already replaced, but wanted to keep out of a landfill.

“This cafe is going to save people money and going to stop some of the illegal dumping that happens in landfills,” said Grice. “It really builds the community.”

Grice plans to donate the repaired TV to another family.

Seven experts came in from all over the Hudson Valley to volunteer their time, tools and supplies to fix items. The next repair cafe will have an emphasis on sewing and bike repairs. This event saw a large amount of electronic items brought in to be fixed.

“The best part is the relationships being forged and sharing stories,” said DePauw. “Some people bring in things dear to them, there’s meaning behind it. The strengthening of the community is a beautiful thing to see.”

DePauw hopes this type of work doesn’t end with the repair cafe. He hopes to see a tool library in Newburgh, where people can borrow and return them, the same they would in a library.

“There are a lot of economic sharing models,” said DePauw. “One is a tool lending library, the average drill is used for 20 mins in its lifespan. A tool lending library is stocking a building with tools so people can take it when they need and bring it back. There are a lot of economic models that don’t involve money at all, we just have to take that step forward to help and make it happen.”

The next event will take place on April 24 at Grit Works from 12 to 4 p.m. For more information you can visit Newburgh Repair Cafe on Facebook. 

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