No Wash Challenge to Start Homelessness Conversation
8 March 2019 at 5:59 pm
Have you ever worn a favourite shirt for a couple of days in a row and felt a bit icky? Now, a charity is challenging Australians to keep their kit on for three full days in an attempt to raise funds and awareness for people experiencing homelessness.
Orange Sky Laundry co-founders Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett launched the “Sudsy Challenge” on Monday. They said going without laundry for a few days might make people appreciate it more, and start a conversation.
“One of the basic privileges a lot of us take for granted is having clean clothes to put on each day – it may seem small, but for a person doing it tough, having access to laundry and shower services can make a huge difference in their life,” Patchett said.
The charity, which is run out of mobile vans around the country, offers free showers, a laundry service and conversation for people experiencing homelessness.
Marchesi told Pro Bono News that the challenge was also about bringing different people together, and creating human connection through a simple act.
“Potentially, some people are going to be uncomfortable, they might be funny and some people might say it’s easy, but that just shows that everyone is different,” Marchesi said.
“And that’s really what Orange Sky is all about, because we bring people from all walks of life together through the simplicity of laundry, and this is just another way to do that.”
He said the name for the campaign came from their first van built in Brisbane, Sudsy, which inadvertently helped Marchesi and Patchett realise where the impact of their service actually was.
“When we took Sudsy out for the first time, the van broke, and then broke again on the second day,” he said.
“On the third day though, it worked and we realised that Orange Sky had very little to do with washing clothes, but everything to do with sitting down and having a yarn when the washing was done.”
The Sudsy Challenge is the first peer-to-peer challenge the charity has taken on, and it is aiming to get 25,000 people signed up and to raise $240,000, which Marchesi said would help them service more people in more places.
“A report came out last year that we’re helping 40 per cent of Australia’s homeless population. Through an initiative like the Sudsy Challenge, we hope that we can grow more services, and be operating in more areas,” he said.
“It’s an ambitious target, and we’ve got a long way to go towards that target, but I hope that we can get there.”
The challenge will run from the 5 to 7 April, but those wanting to take part can sign up now to start raising money.