The holidays are one of the most crucial times of years for homeless shelter volunteers, who are so are committed to putting together meals and helping people get back on their feet that it's easy in the midst of all that chaos for some necessities to be overlooked. But two young Australian guys have come up with a solution to a problem that had yet to be tackled: they purchased a van and turned it into the first mobile laundromat for homeless people that currently operates in Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. They have dubbed their unique service "Orange Sky Laundry."
The co-founders of the van, Lucas Patchette and Nicholas Marchesi, say that the inspiration for the project came with the revelation that most homeless people were being charged six dollars to do their laundry in shelters, and still had to go to the trouble of carting all their clothes to and from the shelter. The two 20-year-olds aimed to make it more convenient by trailing mobile food trucks to local parks that were already out feeding the homeless, so they could make the laundromat more accessible. Since launching, they've acquired two washing machines and two dryers for the van, and have developed a system with mesh bags and color organization so that they can get each individual's clothes washed and dried within an hour and a half.
They've also started sharing stories of community members who have benefitted from the service on the Orange Sky facebook page, and are encouraging other young people in the area to volunteer or donate on their main website. So far they have partnered with corporate sponsors LG, Symbio and Richard Jay, and have ambitious plans to expand the service out to other regions in Australia, where there are an estimated 105,000 homeless people. Check out the innovative design of the van (and some adorable Australian accents) in the video from a local news source:
Image: Orange Sky Laundry/Facebook