Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy and Leanne Koehn, with the recycling society, encourage seniors to get involved and help fix things. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Need some help getting things going? Bring it to a Maple Ridge Repair Cafe

Volunteers needed who can fix things

If you have an old appliance that doesn’t work anymore, but still has life – an old drill with a loose cord, a toy, or a lamp that flickers – there’s help now to repair and reuse it.

Maple Ridge’s first Repair Cafe is on Saturday, March 24 at the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre, at 12150 – 224th St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It’s not a donation thing, it’s bringing stuff down to get fixed,” explained Leanne Koehn, with the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society.

Repair Cafes came out of the Netherlands almost a decade ago and are another way of keeping what could otherwise be junk from going to the landfill.

Instead of tossing something that just requires a minor repair, people can bring their hand-held items (no large objects like autos or washing machines) and get them fixed by a team of volunteers who have specialty skills.

The program is geared to seniors who have a lifetime of knowledge and skills they may want to share through the Repair Cafes.

“It’s real way to build community,” said Koehn.

The cafes are good way to draw out seniors who have dormant skills and make them “repair heroes,” she added.

The March 24 Repair Cafe is the first of four that will take place this year. The next one takes place during Earth Day, on Saturday, April 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

A $25,000 grant from the federal New Horizons seniors grant kicked the program off for this year.

“The number one challenge we have with seniors is loneliness,” said Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy.

“Anything we can do to get seniors outside and involved, why wouldn’t we want to be doing that?”

He added that Repair Cafes can be a good way for younger people, who are too busy to their possessions fixed, to connect with seniors who have the time and talent to make those repairs.

• Seniors with repair skills are needed as well as the hand tools to repair everything. Contact mrrepaircafe@gmail.com.

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