This is part of our Story series. Read more LSS Stories.
Many of us have had that moment when something small breaks and we wished we had someone handy to fix it for us. Well, at Meramec Bluffs, a Lutheran Senior Services Life Plan Community in Ballwin, Missouri, they have a whole workshop of people to help.
Once a month, the workshop at Meramec Bluffs hosts a “We-Fix-It Weekend” where residents can bring in small items to be fixed. The idea came about when Meramec Bluffs resident John Schroeder and his friends in the workshop realized they needed projects to work on and could help their neighbors.
“People bring things down to us – a lamp that doesn’t work, a chair that needs a leg fixed,” explained Schroeder. “We fixed someone’s cuckoo clock cabinet once, but we mostly work on chair arms and rungs that are loose and just need to be glued back on.”
In addition to fixing things for their neighbors, Schroeder and the others in the workshop built shelves for a community resale shop and many have made toys for their grandchildren. This handy group also assembles birdhouse kits for the Missouri Department of Conservation to use in their programs. But they really look forward to each “We-Fix-It Weekend” and not knowing what’s going to come in that day.
“We have fun doing it and we enjoy it,” added Schroeder. “We enjoy working with our hands and getting to fix a little of everything.”
If an item takes special materials to be fixed, the workshop will charge for it. Otherwise they just work from the tip jar. And that tip jar has been pretty successful. Through it they’ve been able to buy not only additional materials but some additional tools and power tools. Schroeder also notes that many of the workshop’s tools were donated by residents when they moved in.
“It’s important for all of us to be able do this,” said Schroeder. “Before we moved in I was interested in seeing if Meramec Bluffs had a workshop to putter around in. That’s my hobby, I didn’t want to lose that. And I didn’t have to.”