Better Than New: Sustainable Westchester at the Ossining Repair Cafe

By 6 September, 2023Our Blog


Authored By: Molly Levitt

Nothing embodies reduce, reuse, recycle more than a Repair Cafe!

On Saturday May 20th, three of our high school senior interns (including yours truly) went to the Ossining event to promote Sustainable Westchester programs that directly help local residents. The interns met wonderful people from all over the local community and had the chance to provide valuable information about our Grid Rewards, Energy Smart Homes, and Community Solar programs to homeowners, interested citizens, and people doing work for local sustainable businesses.

For the uninitiated, a Repair Cafe is an event where anyone with a broken item can come and take advantage of the expertise of other members of their community to get it fixed. Not only is this a great way to reduce waste by extending the life of items instead of just throwing them away, it also brings the community together in a very unique way. Repair Cafe Hudson Valley has facilitated and hosted repair cafes across the region for ten years and was even recently featured in the Earth Day segment on the Today Show. You can watch that segment here.

The organizer of this Repair Cafe, Michele Stone, explains how she came to get involved in this work: “After the 2016 election, I wanted to use my energy for something positive, practical, and community building.The election brought about much activism and mine was the Green Ossining Repair Cafe. I saw a promotion for a Repair Cafe in New Paltz and visited at the first opportunity. I was so inspired by all the volunteers with the leadership of John Wackman, a legend among the Hudson Valley Repair Cafes!”

Ms. Stone went to Green Ossining, a dedicated volunteer committee. They were happy to sponsor the first Repair Cafe in June of 2017, and there have been over 20 well-attended events since. Michele tells us, “It is gratifying to see community members leave not only with their items repaired, but with a sense of community and the feeling that there is still so much neighborly goodness in our world.”

Personally, this intern loved to talk to people one-on-one and not just give them information, but listen to their stories and learn from them. I will definitely be coming back to more Repair Cafes in the future.

Now, let’s hear directly from our other two interns in attendance about their experience!

From our intern Talia: “Repair Cafe is an incredible way to conserve resources and learn about daily sustainable practices. It is great that people are helping others repair things with their varying areas of expertise. The Cafe’s strong sense of community is truly inspiring, as we cannot make systemic improvements without working together and teaching each other. Personally, I learned a lot throughout the Cafe, whether that be how to change a watch battery, how to use a sewing machine, or how to tune a guitar– all of which I am excited to incorporate into my daily life. “

From our intern Jada: “The Ossining Repair Cafe was an awesome community event that emphasized the overlap between sustainability and community. People gathered for repairs of all kinds, for example, Virginia, an Ossining resident, helped and taught me how to mend the sleeve of one of my favorite sweatshirts.”

Do you want to check out a repair cafe or even organize one in your town? Head over to to check when and where your next local repair cafe is and to learn more!

Rivertowns Repair Cafe Booklet