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Sunday, March 3, 2024
March 3, 2024

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Repair Clark County returns after eight-month pause

Nonprofit encountered funding constraints, so volunteers stepped up

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Do you have household items that need fixing? A lamp that flickers, a torn garment or even a dull knife?

Never fear — Columbia Springs’ free Repair Clark County event is back.

Due to funding constraints, the environmental nonprofit was forced to pause the program — which fixes hundreds of household items a year — in June. Now, dedicated volunteers are taking it upon themselves to organize the event free of charge for the nonprofit.

“We were devastated last year when we didn’t receive funding for the program,” said Katherine Cory, Columbia Springs’ executive director. “This is a program that reaches every kind of person.”

The Washington Department of Ecology’s waste-reduction and recycling education grant was the primary resource sustaining Columbia Springs’ program for six years. With that money, the nonprofit employed a full-time staffer who organized multiple Repair Clark County events throughout the year, including in-person and remote events, Cory said.

Volunteers sprang into action when they heard the program had been suspended.

“We’ve been working with two dedicated fixers who have been volunteers with the program since before Columbia Springs took over the program about six years ago,” Cory said. “They are dedicating their own personal time to bring this program back because they see the need. And they are skilled and really organized. They know everyone in our community.”

In the past, Columbia Springs offered a remote option that let people drop off their broken items at a participating library branch at specific times. Then, fixer volunteers would pick those items up, repair them and return them.

That took a lot of planning, and until more funding becomes available to hire another staffer, the remote option will remain on hold, Cory said.

The next Repair Clark County event will be 10 a.m. to noon March 16 at Vancouver United Church of Christ, Bradford Hall, 1220 N.E. 68th St.

Additional events will occur in June, September and December. Moving forward, the event will be quarterly, with two events in east Vancouver and two in west Vancouver.

In the first six months of 2023, before the program was paused, fixers repaired nearly 450 household items — including appliances, electronics and sewing projects — with a repair rate of 92 percent, according to a news release. Volunteers also sharpened more than 200 knives.

“I am so grateful to our dedicated volunteers who are the essential element in returning these essential events to serve the community,” Cory said.

For more information, visit www.columbiasprings.org/repair-clark-county.

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