Cathy Knowsley is the Service leader for the Wellington contingent of Orange Sky.  She spoke to the club on September 14 about who Orange Sky are, what they do, and the impact they make in our community.
John Bishop reports.
If you or anyone you know would like to support the work Orange Sky are doing in Wellington, you can volunteer your time here, or donate some money here.
In September, you can also sign up for the Sudsy Challenge - Commit to not changing your clothes for 3 days, to raise money for Orange Sky. Find more info here
Orange Sky, a volunteer organisation which provides laundry services and showers to homeless people and those doing it hard, calls the people it helps “friends”.

As Cathy Knowsley, a volunteer with the organisation told the club this week, “people waiting for a shower or for their washing to finish, sit with us. “We talk. We’re making connections, we are making friends. We celebrate
their highs and their lows.”

Orange Sky operates out of converted vans, each with two washing machines, two driers and a shower, and these vans go to where the people need help.

In Wellington that is typically to the City Mission or the Soup Kitchen at the Home of Compassion.

The service started after a guy from Auckland called Eddie saw the service operating in Australia. In 2014 two young guys, Nic and Lucas built a free mobile laundry van to help people in their Brisbane community doing it tough.

The service started in Auckland in 2018 and in Wellington in 2019, and since then Kathy said Orange Sky has processed 11 000 tonnes of washing, provided over 7 000 showers, and had 17 000 hours of conversation with “friends.”

The service is free to users, but it costs $165 000 a year to operate each van.

Kathy said that up to one in five Kiwis had experienced homeless in some form. “It’s not just living on the street, but also living in cars, motels, and couch surfing. It isn’t pleasant, but it is common.”
Everyone needs connection.