Rotary Club of Mt Warning AM (Murwillumbah) Inc
There was a buzz of excitement in the air at last week’s Rotary meeting when members of Mt Warning AM welcomed the founders of Orange Sky Laundry, Lucas Patchett OAM & Nic Marchesi OAM, to their breakfast meeting. These impressive young men were also awarded Young Australian(s) of the Year in 2016.
Mt Warning AM has been fundraising for the past few years to assist funding a van to provide a mobile laundry & shower services to the homeless and those who are doing it tough within the communities of Northern NSW.
The initiative commenced under the presidency of Peter McDonald in 2016, and was continued by subsequent presidents, Patsy Lucas, Mary-Ann Thackray, Mary Lynch and current president Hayley Ryan
Orange Sky Laundry vans are fitted with a shower, commercial washers and dryers, laundry baskets, hoses, a generator, and water tanks. But both Lucas and Nic said the most powerful equipment was the six orange chairs that are set up outside each van.
“Those important orange chairs foster real, positive and genuine conversations” they said.
“It takes two minutes to put the laundry in the machine and then there is nothing to do except have a really good chat while the washing is done…and that is where the Orange Sky service makes the biggest a difference.”
Volunteers who operate the service vans around the country often work beside other community organisations, including those which provide counselling, food, vouchers, and other support.
“We are proud that our service provides support to the people who are doing it tough.” said Lucas “Everyone deserves the opportunity to be clean and have clean clothes. Improving someone’s hygiene is good for the soul”.”
“Equally important is the opportunity for our homeless friends to communicate with people who are prepared to provide non-judgmental support through the power of conversation.” said Nic.  “Orange Sky is doing its bit to positively connect with our struggling friends and make a real difference in their lives.”
The president of Mt Warning AM, Hayley Ryan, said that the Club is proud to be associated with Orange Sky Laundry.  The Club has been raising funds over the past few years to assist to bring the service to the communities of Northern NSW, because there is an obvious need to assist the under-privileged locally. Fundraising activities have included concerts, book fairs and opera events.
Orange Sky have recently commenced a service in the Ballina/Byron Bay area and hope to be able to bring this wonderful service to our area in the future.  They continue to seek a partnership with a local community group to bring this to fruition.
Hayley said she is proud of her Club’s commitment to the project and confirmed that the Club’s fundraising to date has exceeded $34,000.  Last Wednesday we handed a cheque to Orange Sky for a little over $21,000.