Orange Sky Laundry – Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless


Other than a brief stint volunteering for the Wilderness Society dressed up in a mangey Koala suit, my social conscience at age 20 was still very much a work in progress.  

But not these guys.  In July 2014, two Brisbane friends and social entrepreneurs Lucas Patchett and Nic Marchesi, age 20, founded Orange Sky Laundry, Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless. They custom fitted a van “Sudsey” with two industrial washers and dryer to service parks, drop in homeless shelters and centres across Brisbane and Ipswich.  Sudsey has recently hit it’s 2000th cycle!

In February 2015, as Tropical Cyclone Marcia crossed the Queensland coast, Lucas and Nic packed up their mobile laundry van and embarked on a 1090km journey into the disaster zone. The next day, Orange Sky was in Yeppoon offering its services to people left without power.

Orange Sky Laundry are also regulars at Grant the Polite Guy and Jerome Dalton’s homeless BBQ’s throughout Brisbane – I will blog the details of the next one.


One load takes about 50 minutes to wash and dry, and they can process 20kg of laundry every hour. Lucas says that washing clothes is only part of the story, and that one of the best parts of the job is the people he meets.  

‘I was chatting with a guy the other day who used to be a chemical engineer. It’s a very grounding experience to see how quickly things can go wrong for people,’ he says.   

“Washing your clothes is a privilege that so many of us take for granted. I met Mick who was born in Brisbane and living on the streets, he couldn’t afford to wash his clothes.  The day I met him was the first time Mick has been able to wash his clothes and blankets.”

Orange Sky Laundry are run by volunteers, and aim to harness the positive energy of 18 – 30 year olds (or anyone really) who are keen to give back, but struggle to find simple ways to help people in need. 

Their big dream is to provide their service across Australia by the end of 2015. They are already in Cairns and on the Gold Coast.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 2.05.09 pmSo how can you get involved?  Lucas and Nic really need your support, for just $6 (or more) you can help fund one Orange Sky Laundry wash for someone who is homeless.  Lets go, I will kick start us, $6 is an easy amount to give – DONATE HERE!

You can also sign up to become an Orange Sky Laundry volunteer – sign up here.

Another great way to help is spread the word about them.  Like them on facebook, twitter and share this post!

The boys would also love for you to come over and say hello, so if you see the van driving around, go and say hi!

Lucas and Nic keep up the incredible work!

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Help Paul Borrud Raise $100,000 USD for Nepal Relief Efforts

Everyday, I feel so priviledged to hear stories of extraordinary humans.  Today is no different.  This is what my friend Paul Borrud has been busy with in Nepal.  On the 25th April 2015 a devastating earth quake hit Nepal, the next day Paul jumped on a plane…..this is the story so far:

Help Paul Borrud Raise $100,000 USD for Nepal Relief Efforts here


DronationThis is Maiya. She is 90 years old and lives more than 10,000ft (3000m) high in the Himalaya. This week, she—and you—changed my life.

As you know, on April 25 of this year the earthquake in Nepal devastated Maiya’s village along with large swaths of the country, killing more than 8,800 people and injuring more than 23,000. The destruction is ubiquitous, overwhelming, and—from the ground, air, or afar—it is heartbreaking. Of all the districts in Nepal, Rasuwa was hit hardest. And it is among the last to receive any aid or assistance.

This week, with your help, we brought them shelter, water, and medical training.

In the aftermath of the Nepal earthquakes, relief efforts and fundraising have been swift and admirable. One challenge affecting the relief, however, is the ancient Nepalese caste system, a hierarchy in which those born to higher castes receive greater relief.

Maiya and her village and the three villages we visited this week are actually below the caste system. They are considered untouchable.

This means that even IF they somehow could make the trek from their villages high in the Himalaya down to the centralized relief centers, they would almost certainly be turned away. So with your help, from, we went to them.

Late at night, after nine hours from Kathmandu, our trucks reached the end of the road: still more than 300 meters from the village of Shyo. We arrived, parked, and down a precarious (and seriously terrifying) singletrack we carried the construction supplies. The homes we spent days building were simple, but durable. They are corrugated tin roofs that create a 1/2 dome and are secured with rebar. Basic, but far better than the tattered tarps and piecemeal shelter Maiya and the other families have been surviving in since the earthquake.

Your help has been invaluable. We built 22 shelters in this village and then trained the village on the water systems provided by Waves for Water. Thank you to Jon Rose, Trista and Damien for providing the most valuable substance on earth—clean water. Finally, first aid training. Helping a disaster-affected region is often as much education and preparation for the next disaster as it is relief for the current one.

After Shyo, we made our way to Suazon, where the needs were the same, but the access was slightly easier. Instead of the “EK Project” corrugated shelters, we were able to transport and build more permanent homes. With your help from we built 15 of these, more water and medical training, and then made our way to Bhaktapur, where the initial drone footage which inspired so many people to lend a hand was originally captured. There we delivered 72 bundles (9 sheets at 12 foot lengths per bundle) of corrugated tin to the village, where a lot of bamboo structures were framed and ready for the roofs.

One of the most inspiring parts of this project has been the stark contrast between the heartbreaking devastation everywhere I turned and the outpouring of gratitude, songs, cheer, and love from the Nepali people YOU are helping. Hefting hundreds of pounds of tin and supplies in not just scary but also treacherous conditions is made light work by the inspiring joy of these people. Thank you so much for getting us there to help them.

Of the nearly $65,000 raised so far through, we have used approximately $40,000, leaving us with $25,000 for Phase 3 but still raising funds. We’ll be doing a needs assessment in similar villages in the coming weeks to determine the best way to use our limited resources. For that and many other efforts, a special thanks to my partners on the ground Bronwyn, La Ma, Iswari, Paresh, Prem, Pooja and Som.

Without their help, and yours, none of this would be possible.

One final thing which deeply affected me this week was during each part of this ordeal remembering that this is a group of people considered “Dalit,” or “untouchable.” And at each turn, the opportunity to not just bring them real relief from terrible destruction but to also show them love and hug them and sing with them is truly the most incredible reminder of the great people in this world.

Not only did we bring your love to a people who receive it from almost no one, we found that same love in each village we visited. It was truly inspiring to see how many of you have given resources large and small to, and equally inspiring to see the love and joy and charity of the people you helped. I am utterly, utterly humbled to have gotten to see both.

Thank you, and Namaste,

Help Paul Borrud Raise $100,000 USD for Nepal Relief Efforts here

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1000 Blankets for Brisbane via #CEOsleepoutAU

BlanketsforBrisbaneOn any given night in Australia more than 105,000 people are homeless. According to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust 4,324 people in Brisbane are homeless, with 1,943 living in Inner City Brisbane.

Cameron Van Balen, Managing Director of Laundry Australia, Home Laundry and Plus Dry Cleaners has set himself a grand challenge.  Not only is he particupating in the 2015 St Vincent de Paul’s CEO Sleepout hoping to raise over $5000, but he wants Brisbane to donate 1000+ Blankets for Brisbane – freshly laundered of course!

Blankets for Brisbane is a great and practical way to support the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society who strive to make life more liveable for those who find themselves homeless.

It is easy, simply donate an old blanket from home to the Blankets for Brisbane appeal, and make this winter a little warmer for Brisbane’s homeless. Here are three ways you can get involved:

  • donate a blanket for Brisbane at any Plus Dry Cleaners store in Brisbane.  There are location in Brisbane City, Carindale, Fortitude Valley, Toobul, Yeronga and more….
  • support Blankets for Brisbane‘s Cam Van Balen in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, or
  • make a donation online direct to St Vincent de Paul

For more information, visit the Blankets for Brisbane website or follow them on facebook.

Dont have a blanket to donate?  Here are some other ways you can help:
SHARE this post on your network and encourage your friends to get involved
HOST a blanket collection at your school, family BBQ, work place, exercise group or mothers group
BUY a new blanket to donate, you can pick up new blankets at Kmart for as little as $5

Your kindness and warmth will make a difference this winter – lets help Cam raise the 1000+ blankets for Brisbane!


ps charityspam is now on facebook – I hope you like me!


Posted in Australian charity, Brisbane Events, Causes, Community, GIVING, Homelessness, Pay it forward, Second Chance, youth | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bulimba Fashion Festival – Friday 19th June 2015 proudly supporting Mates4Mates

The Bulimba Fashion Festival for charity is on again, next Friday 19th June 2015, proudly supporting Mates4Mates, a charity who support current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who are wounded, injured or ill.

This lunchtime event, proudly in its 7th year, has raised over $135,000 for local and grass roots charities.

When: 11:30 – 2:30pm Friday 19th June 2015
Where: Oxford 152, Bulimba
Cost: $125 per person – buy your ticket here

Want to win tickets to attend the 2015 Bulimba Fashion Festival? Read on…

The 2015 Bulimba Fashion Festival will showcase the most stylish winter fashions for 2015 from local boutiques and established designers, all in the name of charity. Shannon Harvey, Place Estate Agent and Bulimba resident, started the Bulimba Fashion Festival in 2009 as she wanted to give back to the community by raising money for charity and promoting the area. The Bulimba Fashion Festival gets bigger and better every year, and the 2014 lunch was a sell out raising $35,000 for the Australian Liver Foundation.

As Shannon puts it “there are ten fashion houses, hundreds of prizes, thousands of laughs all supporting one amazing charity, Mates4Mates.  Please come and join me!”

There are only a small number of tickets left – book your tickets today!

CharitySpam is thrilled to be able to give away two tickets to attend the 2015 Bulimba Fashion Festival.  To enter, share this post on your facebook, twitter or Instagram page, and nominate yourself or your mate, telling us why you or they deserve a ticket to come along to the 2015 Bulimba Fashion Festival.  Nominations by comment below, or by email

Entries/nominations will be considered based on the following:
– someone who has helped make the world a better place
– someone who is doing it a bit tough – someone who is the ultimate mate
– someone who has done something AWESOME

The winners will be announced at 5pm Monday 15th June 2015

So what are you waiting for?  Jump online and book your tickets here!  Hope to see you there! BFF2015

Posted in Brisbane Events, Causes, Community | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

#vinomofo random act of kindness


VINOBOMB and lovely card

Last week, I was #vinobombed. Actually, you, as part of the charityspam community were #vinobombed.   Like me at the time, you probably are wondering what exactly a VINOBOMB is!?  Let me tell you…

The vinobomb is the brainchild of Vinomofo, an online wine company, who sell a selection of hand picked wines, based out of Melbourne.  They run by the tag line of good vino, real mofos, epic deals.  The VINOBOMB is their way of giving back to the community “a small gesture of thanks we share with people who’re doing great things in the community.”

Every month, they choose an individual, group or business doing awesome things in their community, things that make the world better a better place. On the last Friday of every month, they put the word out to their 56,000 facebook fans to nominate someone in the community doing great things, and guess what?  Charityspam was nominated and vinobombed!  How very cool.

The honor role already includes Kae Norman, founder of Rescued with Love, Jane Hunt, CEO of Fitted for Work, founders of Who Gives a Crap, Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon, founders of One Girl, St Kilda Mums and many more….

Want to know more???  Vinomofo started in 2007 in the garage of brothers-in-law and fellow wine geeks Justin Dry and Andre Eikmeier, they wanted to do something cool to inspire the world to drink awesome wine. Four years worth of wine related shenadigans later, involving a beaten-up kombi, a show called Road to Vino, a name change from vinomojo they ‘officially’ launched Vinomofo in 2011.

So this Friday afternoon, I would like you to pour yourself a glass of wine, and recieve my heartfelt gratitude for being part of the charityspam community, the amazing people who inspire each post, my readers, my contributors, my guest bloggers, my editors and everyone who puts a random act of kindness into their day – THANK YOU!

If you know an extraordinary human being who deserves a random act of kindness, why not shoot an email to with your nomination and why you think they deserve to be #vinobombed!


Mikey delivering the vinobomb

Mikey delivering the vinobomb

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karma kegs and R U OK to run for beer

willrunforbeer2Have you heard of Karma Kegs?  A karma keg is a keg of beer, where you decide how much you will pay for your beer, and the money usually goes to charity or funding community projects.  Lots of bars across Australia are joining the karma keg movement, including a couple in Brisbane, including bars Pumpyard in Ipswich, Tiplers in Newstead and Brewski on Caxton Street, Paddington.

Tomorrow, Sunday 31st May, is the first of many beer related charity fundraiser events happening in Brisbane over the next two weeks put on by a group of micro breweries who call themselves “The Blood, Sweat and Craft Beer Team”. Their event is called Will Run For Beer Event at The Mill, 239 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill, Brisbane. They will be doing more than a karma keg, in fact, they have been busily brewing to run a kind of karma bar afternoon – all profits for the day will do straight to charity R U OK.

willrunforbeerThe team consists of micro brewery owners and brewers, who are aiming to raise $10,000 for the cause.  They are also running again in this years City to South – see more below about another one of their events, a 14 bar pub crawl drinking a breakfast beer!

So what can you do to help I hear you ask!!!   Show up and drink beer – that is it!   They figure many people are already doing this, so why not get yourself along to The Mill and get yourself an extra warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone else.

Dress Code: Your best Running Attire
Taps: the brewers will have something a bit special for you!
Facebook event page here

For more info about R U OK visit their website, or facebook.

The next event is planned for after they run City to South on Sunday 14th June; a 14 bar pub crawl following the run!   They have developed a breakfast beer that is not too high in alcohol and easy to drink.  It’s full of oats, banana and bacon. Current tentative names include Hammerhefe, Lace up and Stairway to Hefen.

Current pub list includes Hoo Ha Bar, Tiplers, Bloodhound, Tomahawk, BOSC, The Burrow, SuperWhatNot, Brewski, Statler and Waldof, Lefties and The Scratch.

If you cant get along to drink beer for a good cause and still want to help, you can donate here.


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turn your plastic bags into a park bench

PlasticBagsI went to my children’s school last week and I learnt something: you can recycle soft plastics.  Wow – how did I not know this?  And….what is soft plastic I hear you ask? Soft plastics are supermarket shopping bags, fruit and vege bags, pasta and rice packets, bread bags, glad wrap – all items that used to go into my bin, sadly destined for landfill.  Now these items can be recycled into children’s play equipment, park benches, bike paths and much more!

Did you know that Australians dump 7,150 recyclable plastic bags into landfills every minute or 429,000 bags every hour? *Clean Up Australia

The Red Group have partnered with Coles and local councils and governement, to collect and recycle soft plastics.  There are over 470 collection points in Australia.  From here, the bulk plastics are sent to recycled plastics company Replas, who turn these bags into useful things such as bollards, fencing, decking, fitness equipment, play equipment and more!  Check out their full range here, there are over 200 products.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 9.42.24 amThis Australian based education initiative and recycling solution for plastic bags hopes to literally change the waste landscape.

“We do not believe it is enough to say that something is “recyclable” or even that is has been “recycled”. What makes us different is our practical solutions for the most difficult (and common) types of waste, such as plastic bags. Not only do these solutions exist, they are many based here in Australia and can directly benefit Australian schools and communities.” states the Red Group website.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe we should ban the plastic bag altogether.  A plastic bag free Australia would be awesome. Plastic is wasteful and distasterous for the environment. The very best option is to refuse (or reduce) plastic in the first place.  But for all unavoidable plastic packaging, this is a great solution compared to disposal in landfill or transported offshore.

turtleSo what are you waiting for?  Start collecting and recycling your soft plastics, talk to your children about what you are doing, and why you are doing it, and join Red Group’s soft plastic recycling revolution!

Tell me some of your favourite and creative ways you recycle…..

Here is a park bench made from 8,500 plastic bags:


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