Two 20-year-old friends have come up with an ingenious way to help the homeless population in Brisbane, Australia by turning a van into a mobile laundromat, where the homeless can safely wash and dry their clothes. Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, the founders of the project, started out with an old white van, which they outfitted with a portable generator. Thanks to donations, they were able to secure two washers and dryers to install in the van, allowing their mobile laundromat to wash 20 kilograms of laundry per hour.
“We got started as a result of seeing the fantastic work that food vans and the like do for homeless people,” Patchett told BuzzFeed. “Food, healthcare and support are all readily available yet there is minimal affordable access to hygiene services and we feel it is an area that is overlooked.” According to the founders, their three goals are to raise health standards, restore respect, and reduce strain on resources.
The project is currently undergoing a trial period, during which the van will operate for 5 days a week in Brisbane. The team also plans to cooperate with food donation groups so that the homeless can enjoy a meal while their clothes are being cleaned. If the trial is successful, Orange Sky Laundry hopes to be able to offer their services throughout Australia with a fleet of larger vans.
In the meantime, the organization is looking for volunteers and donations; for as little as $6, contributors can cover the costs of one load of laundry. Find more about how you can get involved, here.
“A privilege that so many of us take for granted. This is the first time Mick has been able to wash his clothes and blankets. Born in Brisbane and living on the streets, Mick can't afford to wash his clothes or transport them. Thanks for your continued support of our program.”
“Meet Ricky. He wants to thank you for all your donations and support. He sleeps rough on the street with his dad and today they were able to wash all of their clothes.”
“Say G'day to Mark and Bernice! Two of our friends at the Redcliffe Breakfast Club. Thanks to your support they were able to wash all of their clothes and sleeping gear.”