Orange Sky Australia is a charity organisation providing mobile laundry and shower services around Australia for people experiencing homelessness, needing extra support, or for those who are going through a tough time.
Since 2019, BOQ has proudly partnered with Orange Sky Australia as they help people in need and positively connect communities.
With Australians experiencing the highest yearly jump in the cost of living on record, the services Orange Sky Australia provide are proving to be more important and impactful than ever.
One of their customers, Betty, has shared her story of financial hardship with us, and how Orange Sky helped her get back on her feet.
Despite working full-time as a cleaner for 14 years, Betty still struggled to make ends meet. She had to move out of her apartment because she couldn’t afford a rent increase. After 36 unsuccessful rental applications, Betty found herself living in her car for six months until she finally secured housing with the support of The Salvation Army.
While living out of her car, Betty was using public toilets and showers – and that's how she came across Orange Sky in Musgrave Park in South Brisbane.
'When I was living in my car, I felt very unsafe,' says Betty. 'I didn't feel secure, like you do when you have a home. I could never sleep properly; I was always alert. It's not a great way to live.'
Even though Betty has now found housing, she still relies on Orange Sky's laundry services to save money rather than paying to visit the laundromat.
Orange Sky helps anyone facing a tough time
Orange Sky co-founder Nic Marchesi says their services create a safe, supportive, and positive environment for people from all walks of life.
'There are over 120,000 people experiencing homelessness from the last census. What we believe at Orange Sky is that those basic human needs of clean clothes, a shower and conversation become more difficult to access during financial hardship.'
Marchesi says recently the charity has seen an increase in need for their services.
'We’re seeing our shifts grow month on month, and we’re operating in more suburban areas.'
'We’re seeing a lot of people who have to work multiple jobs who can’t afford to replace a broken washing machine. Or where spending money on washing clothes is not affordable. We’re seeing people living in their cars or couch surfing.
Marchesi says 'there’s no one common pathway' that leads a person to financial hardship. It can happen to almost anyone through losing a job, abuse, relationship breakdown, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster.
'For a lot of people, one, two or three things go wrong in their life, and they can’t make ends meet,' he says. '[But] every day we’re adding more locations which means there’s more volunteers and more people getting help. We really believe our mission is positively connecting communities through our action.'
Aside from Orange Sky's free mobile laundry and shower service, they also provide a space for connection and conversation. Betty, who is in a much better financial place now, created a bond with the charity's volunteers and still uses Orange Sky's services regularly.
'Coming to Orange Sky's services is very inviting. Even if I can start washing my clothes at my new home, I think I would still come to Orange Sky to chat and catch up with the volunteers. I feel very grateful that there are so many charities that have been there to help me.'
Find out more about Orange Sky
You can find out more about Orange Sky’s initiatives to help all Australians on their website. Orange Sky is one of BOQ's national fundraising partners.