What do you do with a broken toaster or lamp? Or, a shirt or blouse with a ripped-out seam? Toss it? No way! Get them - and any other household items in need of repair - ready for the first-ever virtual Bolton and Maynard Repair Café, set for this June 20.
The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley, with support from Bolton Local and the Repair Cafe Foundation, is hosting this Repair Café via Zoom videoconferencing on Saturday, June 20, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. (ET). Residents of Bolton, Maynard and surrounding towns - as well as people around the world - are invited to join this Zoom session and find out what a Repair Café is all about.
(Shown, above, are several of the Bolton and Maynard Repair organizers during a recent Zoom meeting.)
The purpose of this Bolton and Maynard Repair Cafe is to offer free online advice to the public about the repair of household goods during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees who want to fix items during the Zoom session need to supply only the parts and tools required to make the repairs. Attendees who want only advice need only the broken item and possibly a few tools to open the item.
To sign up as a guest with a broken item, click here. We are also looking for people to help with fixes. Plus, you can just observe. To sign up as a fixer or observer, click here
Once you sign up, you will be e-mailed more informatiom plus the Zoom meeting ID and password. The registration deadline is June 6. Space is limited, so sign up now!
This Bolton and Maynard Repair Cafe will begin with a quick introduction of five or six broken items by the guests. Fixers will then offer advice or provide help to the guests, to make the repairs. After that, the process will be repeated with the next group of guests with broken items. When fixers cannot help guests repair items that are repairable, they may be able to help guests search online for nearby repair shops.
Until now, Bolton Repair Cafes have been in-person events where volunteer fixers work with owners of broken items to make repairs. With the current coronavirus situation, we cannot safely do in-person repairs. Therefore, we are offering help in a Zoom meeting. This means owners of broken items will have to do the actual repairs, with guidance from the fixers. Our fixers cannot handle or work on those items. 
Reduce mountains of trash

At a Repair Café, everything centers on making repairs. Knowledgeable volunteers offer advice on repairing items such as clean and mendable clothing, knitted and crocheted items, lamps, small appliances, computers and other electronics, bikes, toys, and jewelry.
(Shown, right, are organizers and volunteers for an in-person Bolton Repair Cafe held in recent years at the Florence Sawyer School in Bolton.)
Promoting repairs helps reduce mountains of waste. According to Ray Pfau, a member of the Nashoba Valley club, "We throw away lots of things that often have almost nothing wrong with them, things that could easily be used again after a simple repair. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten that they can fix things. Repair Café wants to change all that."
The Repair Café is also meant to put neighbors in touch with each other in a new way. Neighbors may discover that a lot of know-how and practical skills can be found close to home.
"When you repair a bike, a CD player, or a pair of trousers with previously unfamiliar neighbors, you look at them in a different light the next time you see them," Pfau notes. "Jointly making repairs can lead to connections in the community. Making repairs can also save money and resources."
The Repair Café Foundation has been organizing Repair Cafés since 2009 in the Netherlands, and has provided support since 2011 to local groups in and outside the Netherlands wanting to start their own Repair Cafés. Bolton has been holding in-person Repair Cafés since 2013.
For a calendar of all upcoming virtual Repair Cafe and Fixit events in Massachusetts, click here.
For more information on the Bolton and Maynard Repair Cafe, contact Ray Pfau at 978-779-5545 or ray.pfau@alum.mit.edu.