By Juliano Oliveira
“Six years ago today, at 20 years of age, we washed one load of free laundry in an old van in Brisbane… today we hit 1,514,320kgs!”
Those are the pulsating and proud words of Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, founders of Orange Sky Australia, a free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness.
“We want to dedicate our sixth birthday to all our amazing volunteers and call out to anyone that has two hours a week or fortnight to help connect our friends.”
An idea that took shape in a Brisbane garage by two 20-year-old friends in 2014. Nic and Lucas gave the first steps to community engagement after installing a couple of washing machines and dryers in the back of their old van.
It was time to visit parks around Brisbane and to wash and dry clothes for free, being feed by the idea of hygiene improvement and dignity restoration.
The philosophy, as they said, has evolved into something much bigger and more powerful: an organisation that offers 33 services across the country combining access to free laundry and shower services.
Their vans are equipped with onboard water tanks and generators, opening the way for travels to regions where the access of water and electricity is problematic.
Orange Sky works with two 10kg washers and dryers set in their laundry vans, what according to the organisation, make it possible to complete 40kg of clean washing every hour. Every week around Australia, they do 4.56 tonnes of washing for people on the street.
The volunteer’s base acting on the organisation’s behalf have engaged in 232,814 hours of conversations to date, helping to challenge the perception of homelessness and positively connect communities all around Australia.
“In the time that it takes to wash and dry a friend’s clothes [about one hour], there’s not a lot to do but sit down and have a chat. It’s an opportunity for our volunteers and friends to have a genuine and non-judgemental conversation, and helps to provide a person doing it tough with a positive connection back to their community,” they explain.
If you want to help them hitting 2,000,000kgs of washed clothes, click here.