Orange Sky Laundry volunteers helped the Whitsundays with their washing.
Orange Sky Laundry volunteers helped the Whitsundays with their washing. Contributed

Orange Sky Laundry went the extra mile

DURING the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, basic things like doing the laundry seemed like a distant luxury.

However, this wasn't the case for the 2000 people in the Whitsundays who trusted Orange Sky Laundry to wash and dry their clothes.

A team of 10 Orange Sky volunteers assisted people affected by Cyclone Debbie in Mackay during the days immediately post the March 28 cyclone when the road to Airlie Beach was cut off.

And as the highway opened, the group got into the Whitsundays for five days to help everyone they could.

Equipped with a laundry van and bus, collectively consisting of seven washing machines and four dryers, the team got through about eight tonnes of laundry across Airlie Beach, Proserpine, Dingo Beach, Midge Point and more.

The crew came well prepared with rainwater tanks and power on board.

Orange Sky laundry co-founder Lucas Patchett said their goal was to simply return something resembling normality to people's lives.

"There were young families, elderly couples and backpackers who used their clothes to soak up flood waters," he said.

"We had everyone from SES and emergency services and people from Dingo Beach feeling left out so that's why we had everything in our vehicles.

"We had some pretty long days, on the second day we washed non stop for 36 hours and had people sub in and sub out."

Orange Sky Laundry is a Brisbane based mobile laundry service to support homeless people, with many volunteers from Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Mr Patchett said many of their volunteers had flooding issues of their own at their properties in the surrounding Brisbane area, but still felt the need to assist people doing it tough in North Queensland.

"People in the Sunshine Coast had houses which were flooded but they were able to pitch in up north," he said.

"We believe in doing what we are good at which is laundry, and the volunteers did a great job at it, they even folded washing for people as well.

"We were welcomed by the community and the people were appreciative and understanding of waiting hours and they trusted us to to wash and dry their valued possessions."


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