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.
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.
So 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.
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!