When you don’t have a roof over your head, washing clothes can become a luxury — “a privilege so many of us take for granted.” But these two men are changing that.
Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi have turned a van into a mobile laundry service for homeless people. Patchett, an engineering student, said, “I came back from a trip overseas and said to my mate: ‘Let’s stop talking about this and just go do it!'” And they did.
The two 20-year-olds from Brisbane, Australia, retrofitted the vehicle themselves and added two donated, industrial-size washers and dryers. They provide free laundry service at six “well-known, but discreet” locations around the city, including parks and homeless shelters.
They founded their company, Orange Sky Laundry, less than a year ago with a goal of raising health standards and restoring respect to homeless people. They’re also hoping to inspire other young people to join them. “We want to harness the energy of 18- to 30-year-olds who are keen, but struggle to find simple ways to help people in need.”
But fresh, clean clothes aren’t the only thing Orange Sky offers. “Sometimes, the most rewarding thing for our homeless friends is to be heard.” Volunteers and clothes washers share conversations, family photos, and stories — often about life before they became homeless. “I was chatting with a guy the other day who used to be a chemical engineer. It’s just a very grounding experience to see how quickly things can go wrong for people,” said Patchett.
The two men have attracted national attention in Australia. And in February, they received a second donated van, which was deployed to help people whose homes were destroyed by a recent tropical cyclone.
Their goal is to expand throughout Australia with a fleet of vehicles and volunteers by the end of 2015.
“The cycle of homelessness is often complicated, misunderstood and anonymous. [Having clean clothes and bedding is] a privilege that so many of us take for granted.”
#58: Husband Seeks Kidney for His Wife << 100 Acts of Male Goodness >> #60: Clint Smith, The Danger of Silence
Do you have an Act of Male Goodness to share? Or know someone who should be profiled in this series? Send details to Kristi Dale at [email protected] with “100 Acts of Male Goodness” in the subject line.