With World Homeless Day on October 10 almost upon us, there's some Good Guys out there in our community who are doing their bit to change the lives of those less fortunate.
Meet Orange Sky Laundry co-founders, Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, who in 2014 and at just 20 years of age, came up with the idea of creating a free mobile laundry service for people doing it tough. What they did next has earnt them the title of Young Australian of the Year as they grew their idea from one fitted out old van, nicknamed 'Sudsy' to 10 mobile vans across Australia.
The people and organisations that have come along on their journey are numerous. Amongst them is The Good Guys, who realised the natural fit partnering their white goods retail brand with two all-round good guys.
The Good Guys Chairman, Andrew Muir, said they were moved to give a hand.
"When we heard about the charity that these two young guys had set up we were truly blown away by their vision to help homeless people across Australia by offering a free mobile laundry service, and as we are a business that sells one in every three laundry products nationwide, we just couldn't help but get involved and support their project." he said.
In the lead-up to World Homeless Day and during the month of October all 101 of The Good Guys stores across Australia will be fund-raising to help reach the target of raising $105,000 to build a new Orange Sky Laundry van. Customers will be asked to donate $2 towards a card which they put their name on and attach to a board in store.
The fact is, all these good guys are doing much more than cleaning soiled clothes and bedding of the homeless. It's the 1300 hours of positive and genuine conversations 622 volunteers are having with their homeless friends while they do the 7.2 tonne of laundry each week. This is the real success of Orange Sky Laundry – their ability to positively connect the homeless with community.
While the mobilisation of these 10 laundry vans is no small feat, what we often overlook is how easy it can be for each of us to make a difference in our own communities if we just extend ourselves beyond our self-imposed limitations. What conversations can we be having with others that help to lift spirits and raise the hopes of others?
The problem is, we often exist so much in our own pain-body and in satisfying our own ego, that we let these opportunities pass us by. As Eckhart Tolle says, through our own lack of awareness, we remain stuck, unable to help ourselves – let alone anyone else.
So what can we do to free ourselves of our own self-imposed limitations we too can become the good guys in our community?
- 1.Appreciate the little things
- There are over 105,000 people living homeless in Australia and 100 million homeless people in the world. If nothing else, we can be thankful for a warm, safe place to sleep at night. It's the little stuff like a good nights' sleep that we take for granted.
- 2.Smile on the inside out
- Sometimes we forget to smile on the outside let alone on the inside. Smile at strangers when they least expect it and in that moment of surprise when they don't know what else to do but to return the gesture, it shortens the distance between two people and warms the heart.
- 3.Take the time to listen
- We can get so caught up in satisfying our own needs that we fail to stop and understand the needs of those around us. Stop multi-skilling, slow down, breathe and look into the eyes of the other person, watch their facial expressions and listen to their tone of voice. Hear all the cues that you would otherwise have missed that will help you be a better communicator.
- 4.Volunteer your time
- There are countless groups and service organisations in every community where it's possible to give of your time. Animal shelters, aged care facilities, disability services and services for the homeless like Orange Sky Laundry all rely on volunteers to make things possible. Donate just a few hours of your time and see how good it feels to pay it forward.
- 5.Show you care
- When we show we care, we are reaching out to others. No matter whether you're a business owner, employee, self-employed or unemployed, we can all take the time to show we care by partnering or offering our time to those who need it the most.
Being a good guy doesn't have to be that hard. It just takes a realignment of your priorities and a commitment to living your life based on a strong set of values. Your support will always be gratefully accepted. Make doing good at the heart of what you do and see what a positive difference you can make – to the lives of others and your own.
I hope this blog has motivated and inspired you to think about the difference you can make in your community – just as Orange Sky Laundry and its legion of supporters like The Good Guys has done. Want help finding your passion and purpose on behalf of your workplace? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 366 306.