ThankYou Thursday: Washing under Orange Skies

Did you know that every night in Brisbane around 300 people sleep rough in parks, under bridges, in laneways, car parks and abandoned buildings?

While every morning most people, like you and me, wake up and slip on a pair of clean pants and a freshly washed shirt without any thought about it. With a load of washing costing about $6 at a typical laundromat this is an expense that is out of reach for many who are sleeping rough.

The Orange Sky Laundry is Australia’s first mobile laundry for the homeless, washing and drying clothes and belongings for those on the streets. Currently operating in Brisbane the idea was thought up by two young guys, Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, in July last year. They started the project after engineering student, Lucas, returned from overseas and decided, ‘Let’s stop talking about this and just go do it!’

The boys have been receiving some positive media attention for their idea and only a few months into their venture were interviewed for the Sunrise program on Channel Seven.

Run completely by volunteers and especially looking to give people between the ages of 18 and 30 an outlet to help people in need, the Orange Sky Laundry provides free washing and drying facilities for the homeless. They also provide specialised hygiene packs.

The organisation’s name was inspired by the lyrics of the song, Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch: ‘In your love, my salvation lies’ and ‘I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky, with my brother standing by’. The message of the song is about helping your brothers and sisters which are values that are central to the project.

Orange Sky Laundry’s mission is to improve hygiene standards of the Australian homeless while at the same time they can restore a little bit of respect too by helping with their perhaps untidy appearance.

The boys installed two washing machines and two dryers that were donated in an old van that they did up. They drive around to parks and other locations that homeless people frequent in Brisbane. Partnering up with food vans so that people can eat while their clothes are washing at the same time makes this an efficient task for the users.

Lucas says his favourite part of the job is being able to sit and ‘chat with the interesting people’ while the washing machines are churning away.

Orange Sky Laundry is planning to be nationwide by the end of this year and just looking at the posts on their Facebook page you can see that the Australian community are really getting behind this idea. People are continually asking how they can help them out by volunteering in different cities, setting up regular direct deposits and pledging donations. Even people from the US are getting on board by donating via Paypal.

This Thursday we would like to give a big high five and say thank you to Lucas Patchett, Nicholas Marchesi and all the volunteers involved in Orange Sky Laundry. We hope you guys grow across the country and keep up the good washing.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick

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