What kinds of items do you fix?
Mainly clothing repairs, as opposed to alterations, but have done some backpack fixes, umbrellas needing sewing repair, even shoes.
When did you first start volunteering with Repair Café Toronto?
So long ago, I’ve forgotten!
What is your day job?
Retired former Occupational Health and Safety Registered Nurse; now other volunteer work in my condo and neighbourhood.
What is your favourite location?
My favourite location has to be the Toronto Reference Library,
Do you have a favourite quote?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves – who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in every one of us.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.
— from a speech by Nelson Mandela
Why did you start to become interested in repairing things?
When I first heard about Repair Café and the mission to keep things from landfill; I am a volunteer with the city as a 3R Ambassador at my condo home, learning about the circular economy and good waste management practices.
How did you learn your skills?
My mother sent us to Singer sewing lessons in the summer, as a way of keeping busy; it was the start of making my own clothes, then for my family. Repairing is my main sewing occupation these days.
What does it mean to you to volunteer at the Repair Café?
I like the work and the company of like-minded volunteers, and I like meeting those whose clothing needs fixing. I’m so happy they are not just throwing items away because they don’t know how to fix them.
What is the most memorable item you have fixed?
I remember a grandmother who had gone ‘bargain shopping’ for her granddaughters’ graduation dresses. She was so proud of having done that and so loving to her granddaughters, that I broke the Repair Cafe rules and did lengthy alterations (as opposed to short repairs) but only because there were enough other sewing fixers to serve others.
Why should people get involved with the Repair Café?
Because it is an opportunity for grassroots participation in dealing with climate change and the huge impact the new clothing industry has on climate change. It also is a way of helping people deal with having a low income and needing to save what they have, not to always throw away and buy new. We need to teach the new generation about this.
Where do you see Repair Café Toronto in 5 years?
The Toronto Public Library system has been a generous host in the past. I am hoping for more regular Repair Cafes throughout Toronto neighbourhoods, perhaps sponsored by Neighbourhood and Resident Associations, at local community centres. It is community building at its best, and so necessary in this time of general economic and climate concerns that affect us all.