Keep your kit on for three days to raise money for the homeless

Published 5:00am 23 August 2022

Keep your kit on for three days to raise money for the homeless
Words by Ashleigh Howarth
Above: Orange Sky Founders Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett.

Moreton Bay residents are being urged to wear the same clothes over three consecutive days this September to help raise awareness and funds for Orange Sky, the world’s first free mobile laundry and shower service.

Known as The Sudsy Challenge, the yearly event is aimed at washing away the stigma surrounding homelessness while also raising money for the charity to provide more laundry services, more warm showers and more meaningful conversations for those doing it tough.

Orange Sky volunteers Don Scott and Jan Dann, who can often be found at the van in Redcliffe, have already registered to take part in the challenge.

They will proudly wear the trademark Orange Sky orange shirt for three days.

Don is no stranger to The Sudsy Challenge. He has been volunteering at Orange Sky for five years and is set to complete his fourth challenge next month.

“The Sudsy Challenge is a great way to get the public thinking about vulnerable people doing it tough and ways they could help in their own way,” Don said.

“It's another way to get the public to be aware of the issues going on in their own backyard and to act.

“Every year I have participated in the challenge the shirt really is a conversation starter and I have enjoyed helping to spread awareness on the issue of homelessness.”

For Jan, this will be the first time completing The Sudsy Challenge.

“The idea of wearing the same clothes for three days doesn't seem too hard considering the many stories I hear of hardship when speaking with friends at an Orange Sky shift - it is something small I can do to help,” Jan said.

“Our friends face so many challenges and if wearing the same clothes for three days can help them, I am excited to do it.”

Keep your kit on for three days to raise money for the homeless
Above: Redcliffe Orange Sky volunteer Don Scott. 

New study reveals the impact cost of living is having on homelessness

Orange Sky Co-founder Nic Marchesi (OAM) said this year has been an extra tough year for people, with the rise in the cost of living stretching people’s budgets to the max, and forcing more people to reach out for help.

“Unfortunately, 2022 is already proving to be the toughest year many of us have faced,” Nic explained. 

“In the first six months of this year alone, we’ve seen everyday costs skyrocket, coupled with the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters like flooding across Queensland and New South Wales, it has created the perfect storm for homelessness and forced more Aussies to live paycheck-to paycheck, making the support provided by Orange Sky more important than ever.

“The Sudsy Challenge encourages Aussies to not change their clothes, so they can change lives. By keeping their kit on for three days straight, collecting donations from their friends and family and starting meaningful conversations with them about the rising issue of homelessness, you can help change lives.

“When people experiencing homelessness stop by one of our vans, we wash their clothes and offer them a warm shower and it makes them feel better but they tell us that it’s the conversations our volunteers have with them they love the most.”

Results of a recent survey commissioned by YouGov found one in five Aussies had experienced homelessness, slightly up from 2021’s study which revealed 20% had experienced homelessness.

The report also shed light on the impact of recent increases in the cost of living:

• Almost one in three (28%) feared losing their home due to financial struggles and one in four (25%) had to take on a secondary income to make ends meet.

• Of those who had previously experienced homelessness, six in 10 (59%) feared losing their home due to financial struggles and more than half (51%) took on a secondary income to get by.

• One in 10 (10%) say they struggled to make ends meet every day.

• Six in 10 (59%) experienced increased nervousness about their financial security in the past year.

• Almost half (49%) had to change their living circumstances due to rising costs.

Keep your kit on for three days to raise money for the homeless

Register today

Following a successful event last year, Nic is urging more Australians to step outside their comfort zone and help those doing it tough by registering to take part in this year’s Sudsy Challenge.

In 2021, more than 2,535 individuals, schools and companies took on The Sudsy Challenge, raising more than $481,000 for Orange Sky services across Australia.

Australians can participate in The Sudsy Challenge over any three consecutive days throughout September.

Learn more about The Sudsy Challenge and register at thesudsychallenge.com.au

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