National not-for-profit organisation Orange Sky is calling for more volunteers as it struggles for numbers in the Port Macquarie region due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Orange Sky, with its laundry van named Maddy and the volunteer team, alleviates some of the hardship faced by people experiencing homelessness in the region by providing access to free laundry and non-judgemental conversation.
More than 600 people are experiencing homelessness in the region.
Port Macquarie's Carly Bullard has been a volunteer with Orange Sky since October 2017.
She has enjoyed meeting intriguing people through the role.
"There are some really cool characters out there," Miss Bullard said.
"They might not have the best circumstances but they are genuine people which is really good to see."
Miss Bullard, whose role involves looking after the van, said more volunteers were needed to join the Orange Sky team.
Retiree Terry Memory has been an Orange Sky volunteer for about four months.
Mr Memory, who was homeless 50-odd years ago, said he had an empathy for those in need who were helped by Orange Sky.
"It [being a volunteer] is very fulfilling and our friends are absolutely wonderful," the North Haven resident said.
"They have their own story and the important thing is no judgement."
Orange Sky was the brainchild of entrepreneurs and co-founders, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, who earned national acclaim since launching the concept in 2014.
"All over Australia our volunteers sit in orange chairs and have conversations with people doing it tough; young mothers, single dads and women over the age of 55, who are the fastest growing homeless population increasing by 31 per cent between 2011 and 2016," Mr Marchesi said.
Orange Sky has washed more than 1.4 million tonnes of laundry since its 2014 launch with volunteers engaging in more than 200,000 hours of genuine conversation with friends across Australia.
Sign up to become a volunteer or learn how you can support the non-profit organisation by visiting the Orange Sky website.
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