Make a Difference raises $110,000 for Orange Sky Laundry van

Well done: Make a Difference Committee members and supporters reflect on the significance of exceeding the $100,000 target. Pictured: (back) Jim Mobbs, Connie Porter, Malcolm Neale, Alison Neale, Matt Field, Sue Jogever, Matt Scully, (front) Rob Denham, Jan Shepherd, Ian Adams, Karen Faichney, Erin Denham, Leasa Harris and Sandra MacKenzie.

Well done: Make a Difference Committee members and supporters reflect on the significance of exceeding the $100,000 target. Pictured: (back) Jim Mobbs, Connie Porter, Malcolm Neale, Alison Neale, Matt Field, Sue Jogever, Matt Scully, (front) Rob Denham, Jan Shepherd, Ian Adams, Karen Faichney, Erin Denham, Leasa Harris and Sandra MacKenzie.

Make a Difference has surpassed its $100,000 target in just nine months.

The non-profit group has raised $110,000.

The goal was to raise $100,000 in 12 months.

The achievement means a dream to help the homeless through an Orange Sky Laundry van on the Mid-North Coast will come true.

Make a Difference founder Erin Denham thanked the community.

“We couldn’t do any of this without the support of the community,” she said.

The wide ranging support came from individuals to non-government organisations, businesses and community groups.

“I think Port Macquarie will support anyone and anything in need, but I think with this in particular, a lot of people either know someone who is homeless or know someone who is a pay packet away from a dire situation,” Mrs Denham said.

She said the seven-member committee had worked their tails off.

A strong business plan underpinned Make a Difference’s vision.

The Mid-North Coast van, which has been ordered, is expected to arrive in late September.

There will be a volunteer recruitment and training process before the van gets on the road.

Up to 40 volunteers will be needed to cover the Mid-North Coast.

At least 15 applications have already flowed in.

People can register to volunteer on the Make a Difference website.

The van, to be based in Port Macquarie, will service from Taree to Kempsey.

It is hoped the van will be operational by the end of October.

“The plan was always to give the homeless a Christmas lift this year,” Mrs Denham said.

“We hope it’s well and truly doing its thing by December.”

Mrs Denham said the project was unique.

The committee took a three-pronged approach –  grants, a fundraising calendar and community donations – to raise the money.

And it worked.

Mrs Denham said while the money raised was a great thing, it created an awareness about homeless people in the community.

“They do need a support network and they deserve the basic right of clean clothes to restore their dignity and respect,” she said.

Access to Orange Sky Laundry not only means clean clothes for the homeless.

The service is a catalyst for conversation and connections.

Orange Sky Laundry started with a van in Brisbane and has grown to 14 services across Australia.

Van locations range from the Gold Coast to Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.

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