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Dare to Repair Celebrates One Year of Free Fixing

It’s been one year since the man, the myth, the legend Chip Blenk entered our lives as an unstoppable fixing force. Chip is one of over a dozen skilled fixers who have generously donated their time and talents to the Dare to Repair Café, a community event where individuals can bring in their broken items and have volunteer “fixers” work side-by-side with them to repair their item for free. This not only saves people the cost of replacing an item, it also teaches them the necessary skills to make similar repairs in the future. The events are meant to reduce the amount of usable goods entering the waste stream, pass on traditional repair skills and knowledge through a “learn by doing” model, and foster community and sustainability.

The fixes has been flying in 2018 as organizers and repairers traveled across the city and county to host seven free repair cafes where repairers worked side-by-side to successfully repair 198 items diverting 1,610 lbs of waste from local landfills.

For those who haven’t yet experiences a Dare to Repair Café up close and in person, there are two upcoming events to bring your broken thingamabobs:

  • Saturday, September 15th from 10am to 2pm (1-Anniversary Party starts promptly at 2:01pm)
    University Heights Community Laboratory | 9 West Northrup Place
  • Saturday, October 20th from 10am to 2pm
    Reinstein Woods Edcuation Center | 93 Honorine Drive

“There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline rush you get when that antique lamp that you just couldn’t bring yourself to get rid of because it’s been in the family for generations suddenly springs back to life at the hands of a repairer.” said Monica Shannon, a successful repairee at the last Dare to Repair Café.

For those individuals who are interested in sharing a skill as a volunteer fixer, you can fill out this form and be well on your way to daring to repair! Be sure to check back to the Tool Library’s page often to see an updated calendar of events.

Partners in Repair: Buffalo Recycles, University Heights Tool Library, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, Valu Home Centers, Knowledgefire, The Foundry

Special thanks to all the dedicated fixers who make these events possible and the sponsors of the Dare to Repair Café: United Way of Buffalo & Erie County (Next Gen) and LUSH Cosmetics


Written by Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton works as Director of Community Development & Planning at the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA). His work primarily focuses on housing rehabilitation, small business development, and community capacity building in the neighborhood's surrounding the University at Buffalo's South Campus. Prior to this, Darren served as an Associate Planner at the UB Regional Institute working on a regional sustainability initiative, the remediation of industrial brownfields, and an overhaul of Buffalo's zoning code. As a graduate student at UB, Darren founded the University Heights Tool Library in response to his experience renting from an absentee landlord. With a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning all from UB, Darren works to bridge the gap between research, policy, and grassroots activism and is a firm believer that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

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