When people are experiencing homelessness, it becomes more difficult for them to access a variety of basic resources. Some of these resources, such as water, food and shelter, are necessary to sustaining life. Other resources, while not necessarily life-sustaining, can play an important role in making people feel like their lives are satisfying, dignified, and worth living.
Orange Sky Laundry, Australia's first mobile laundry service for the homeless, is working to provide this latter type of resource.
Since its founding in July 2014, Orange Sky Laundry has been providing free laundry services to homeless communities throughout Australia. The project began in Brisbane but has grown to include services in the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney and SE Victoria. Orange Sky Laundry is now in the process of developing a sixth service location in Perth.
How does it work? The not for profit uses vans, each equipped with two washing machines and dryers, to travel to "well known, yet discreet locations" and deliver clean laundry to the homeless. Volunteers drive the vans and do the laundry. While people have their clothing washed, they are encouraged to have conversations with volunteers and eat meals provided by food vans collaborating with Orange Sky Laundry.
But the organisation is not just focused on providing free laundry service to Australia's homeless communities. It is also designed to help people experiencing homelessness feel better about themselves and more connected to the people around them. Orange Sky Laundry's mission is, "To provide a vehicle for conversations, opportunities and educations through a free mobile laundry service for the homeless, worldwide". The organisation's three main goals are:
- Raise health standards
- Restore respect
- Reduce strain on resources
On top of Orange Sky Laundry's successful services and contributions to Australian communities, the organisation also has an impressive origin. It was created by 20 year old best friends, Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, who dreamed of improving the hygiene standards for the homeless. In the words of Patchett, "Everyone's made of the same stuff. We think everyone should have that same basic human right". Orange Sky Laundry showcases the incredible impact that young people can make on the world. Patchett and Marchesi are an inspiration not just for Australians, but for all of humankind as well.
If you are interested in getting involved with the organisation, you may want to explore the following options:
- Volunteer as a team leader, general volunteer, or support member. Drive, do laundry, and engage in meaningful conversations with other volunteers and homeless individuals.
- Become a corporate sponsor. As Orange Sky Laundry is a relatively new organisation, the support from corporate sponsors can make a huge difference. Currently the not for profit is partnering with Richard Jay, LG, Kennards Hire and Symbio.
- Donate online. Each donation makes a difference. All it takes is a $6 donation to pay for a load of laundry for a person experiencing homelessness.
At Giva, we are excited about the impact Orange Sky Laundry is having on its community. We look forward to seeing the organisation grow and hope to see similar projects popping up around the world!