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Not many of us would think twice about grabbing a clean shirt and throwing it on.
Even when we hold yesterday’s shirt up for a sniff and find it a bit lacking, there’s usually a can of deodorant nearby to sort us out. Or another shirt.
But for those who can’t make this choice due to homelessness, the inability to access clean clothes and a shower can broadcast their circumstances in ways that serve to further isolate them.
It’s this choice Orange Sky wants Canberrans to think about this September—and then take away from themselves.
Orange Sky—which offers free clothes laundering, showers and genuine conversation to homeless and at-risk people—wants Canberrans to engage in their Sudsy Challenge, which challenges people to wear one outfit for three days.
Having kicked off on 3 September and with $206,000 raised so far across 1000+ registrants, the Sudsy Challenge aims to raise awareness of at-risk Australians and start a national conversation around homelessness.
With 1 in 200 Australians experiencing homelessness, Orange Sky Co-Founder Lucas Patchett OAM says that in 2020, organisations that support those experiencing homelessness have never been more vital.
“The funds raised from The Sudsy Challenge will support our services across Australia so we can continue to help our friends feel welcome and connected. The funds will also allow us to increase our presence and services, which is crucial during this trying time as we see more friends experience homelessness as a result of COVID-19.”
“Through The Sudsy Challenge, we’re hopeful everyday Australians will come to understand more about what it’s like to experience homelessness and in turn, have a hand in creating a safe and supportive environment for our friends.”
Taking part is simple: just register, raise at least $24, receive your Sudsy Challenge t-shirt in the mail and then wear it across your nominated weekend for three days.
Servicing over 31 locations across Australia and New Zealand, the Orange Sky fleet is run by thousands of volunteers with each van including a shower, washing machines and six orange chairs, where those doing it tough are given the opportunity to engage in genuine non-judgemental conversation.
This conversation is just as important as the clean clothes, says Orange Sky Co-Founder Nic Marchesi OAM—if not more important.
“The Sudsy Challenge is a tribute to ‘Sudsy,’ the van that brought Orange Sky to life—it took us three days and three sets of broken washing machines and dryers to get Sudsy up and running,” says Nic.
“Our first shift with Sudsy taught us that while clean clothes are important, it is the conversation and connection that matters most.”
Since that first shift in 2014, Orange Sky has washed over 1.4 million tonnes of laundry with its volunteers engaging in over 240,000 hours of conversation across Australia.
The Sudsy Challenge Dates
- Weekend 2: 10–12 September
- Weekend 3: 25–27 September
- Weekend 4: 2– 4 October
- More information: thesudsychallenge.com