Orange Sky Australia has launched a van in the Port Macquarie-Hastings that will provide free washing and drying for people doing it tough across the Mid-North Coast region.
The service will offer free laundry and a platform for conversations for people experiencing homelessness across various communities in the region.
The new laundry van named Maddy is the 17th of its kind in Orange Sky’s national fleet, with three shower vans also on the road.
The launch of the van was made possible by the fundraising efforts of local organisation, Make a Difference Port Macquarie.
Orange Sky co-founders, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, were named 2016 Young Australians of the Year for their work in establishing the organisation.
Manager of Service Operations NSW and the ACT Maz Dargan said she was excited to extend Orange Sky’s reach further across the state.
“Since Orange Sky kicked off in October 2014, we have been continually blown away by the support we’ve received and how well the vans have been integrated into a range of communities,” she said.
“This is the fifth laundry van to be launched in New South Wales, and we can’t wait for Maddy to start making an impact across the mid-north coast region.”
While laundry is what Orange Sky does best, Ms Dargan said it was the conversations that would make the biggest impact.
“Our six orange chairs are the most important part of our service. It’s where our friends who attend our shifts have the opportunity to build relationships with volunteers through genuine and non-judgmental conversations,’’ she said.
“It will help to provide people with a sense of connection back to their own communities.”
Make a Difference Port Macquarie founder Erin Denham said the team was excited to see their dream become a reality.
“We cannot wait for the van to start its free washing service between Kempsey and Taree.
This is a unique service that will work alongside existing welfare services to help restore dignity and respect back into the lives of our friends on the streets,” she said.
Store Executive Manager at The Good Guys Port Macquarie, Tony Green, said he was delighted to see a new Orange Sky van headed for the region.
“Nic and Lucas, and their amazing family of volunteers, truly personify what it means to be good guys, and my team at The Good Guys Port Macquarie is looking forward to getting involved with the van on a local level. The Good Guys is a proud national partner of Orange Sky, and together, we aim to ‘Do Good and Strengthen Local Communities.’”
To volunteer or donate, visit www.orangesky.org.au