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by Ben Knight
We recently spoke to Eloise, who manages all of Orange Sky’s incoming messages through our emails, website and social media accounts. From participating in The Sudsy Challenge, gifting Orange Sky merchandise, selling toys to donate the proceeds to Orange Sky or aspiring to be the next Nic and Lucas, Eloise has heard some pretty cool stories.
“It is always a different day when I come in to work and I love that I can speak with many people from different walks of life. The best part about my job is hearing amazing stories from our supporters, and being able to provide support to our friends in need of a wash or shower,” she said.
We asked Eloise for three of her favourite stories of people doing amazing things in support of our friends…
Our friends and volunteers might be physically distanced at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that the connection has stopped. Nine-year-old Sebastian has taken it upon himself to make soap and donate 30 percent of profits to three charities – including Orange Sky. We are blown away by Sebastian’s hard work and dedication to helping others during this tough time.
“My name is Sebastian, I am nine years old and I have been making hand made soap and donating 30 percent to charities. I have chosen three charities, they are Orange Sky, Beyond Blue and Mission Australia. I chose these charities because what they do is amazing.”
Sebastian now has his own website, which you can check out here and buy some soap to support Orange Sky.
Grace and Evie spent the day at their Grandma’s work when they were home sick from school. They decided to set up a shop of their own to raise money for Orange Sky, selling office supplies, stationary and stuffed toys.
The girls raised $7.60 and were thrilled to be able to donate it towards our friends doing it tough.
More than 120 girls from St Rita’s College, Rosa House took part in a belated Sudsy Challenge. Their goal was $1,000 and they absolutely smashed it by raising $3,888 by reaching out to friends, family and the other school houses.
The Sudsy Challenge will be back later this year, so make sure you’re following us on Facebook to find out how you can get involved!
“Each person had their own idea on how to make a difference for both Orange Sky and our friends doing it tough. Every little bit counts and we’re so grateful for any support from the community.”
At Orange Sky, we are constantly inspired by the next (and current!) generation of innovators – their social conscious, creative fundraising ideas and desire to constantly give back the community.
We’re excited to share that you can now host your own online fundraiser to support Orange Sky and ensure that we can keep delivering our service.
Orange Sky Australia • 2020 • 17 Dover Street, Albion Queensland 4010 • (07) 3067 5800 • ABN/Charity ID: 85890622990 • We are a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Tax Office
by Megan Groundwater
It was a Thursday morning in Brisbane when Lucas and I were out on shift at Wickham Park. This inner-city park has a lot of significance for me; it’s where my Mum took me one morning when I was growing up to help volunteer – an experience that had a profound impact on my life. It’s also the place where we started Orange Sky alongside our high school food van.
Lucas and I were out on shift meeting with a mentor, who was giving us some feedback on our operations. It’s always a little bit uncomfortable for me dropping in on a shift; I feel like somewhat of an intruder on a special community, as volunteers and friends have such a meaningful connection (I’m also terrible at remembering names!).
I was standing at the back of the laundry van talking to two volunteers, Kathleen and Tammy, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman sit down on an orange chair. She was talking to herself and looked quite down. I tried to maintain conversation and engagement with the volunteers, but I couldn’t help but be distracted by this friend.
I have always found empty orange chairs to be a sign of loneliness, but also the potential for connection with another person. I felt nervous as I walked over and sat down on one of the vacant orange chairs. I introduced myself. I said, “Hi, my name is Nic, do you mind if I ask what your name is?” She said, “I am Dani, nice to meet you.”
I noticed a strong accent. I asked her what was on for the rest of the day and Dani told me she was going to yoga. She said she found yoga and meditating helpful for her, and that she was able to get free classes in exchange for helping out at the studio. I asked how she found out about the studio and she told me she got the confidence to go there after an Orange Sky volunteer, Claire, suggested it to her.
I was intrigued by Dani’s accent, which she said was from California. She told me that Australia is now home and that she has left that part of her life behind. I asked if she missed anything from home. She said not much. Coming to Orange Sky shifts and going to yoga made her feel great and she told me stories of how other volunteers listened to her and made her feel supported. She said that the volunteer, Claire, reminded her of her own Mum because she listened without judgement and was super caring and loving.
Dani didn’t need to say any more, I had goose bumps and tears in my eyes. I knew exactly what she was talking about, because I had felt that special connection in my own life. I had felt that exact same feeling, from that exact same person, because the woman she was talking about was my own Mum, Claire Marchesi.
We kept on talking for the rest of shift until Dani’s washing was done. I could have spoken to her for many more hours. I have not seen Dani since that day, but I often think about that conversation. Dani would have been a few years older than me. We both come from different parts of the world with different upbringings and perspective, however have both felt the same beautiful connection from the same beautiful person.
Human connection is special and complex, but it often stems from the simplest things. In this case, it all started from a simple conversation on an orange chair in a park in Brisbane.
My Mum has given me so much, but this Mother’s Day, I am grateful for the gift of shared perspective, shared understanding and shared connection.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful Mums out there.
Help us #continueconnection with friends in need
Natalie is the HR Officer at Orange Sky HQ. She loves home decorating, op-shopping and vintage inspired fashion, gazing longingly at shoes, being in or near the water and spending time with her family.
Each night, I snuggle up in bed with my seven-year-old and we talk about our day. Usually our talks are filled with tales of adventures of school ground mischief, occasional disagreements with our sibling and ping pong games.
However, since COVID-19 first hit Australian shores in January 2020, our world has slowly been shrinking. Our trips to beaches, playgrounds and to visit grandparents have dwindled down. In place of sleepovers, we have Facetime calls. Instead of playgrounds, we build cubby houses out of blankets. Instead of bike rides, we jump on the trampoline in our backyard.
So here we are after more than a month of isolation and I’m preparing myself for our usual nightly conversation. As the days have started to blur, I decided to not just to ‘summarise’ our days and what we liked the best, but rather to shift our conversation to what we are most thankful for.
I thought I would share with you all what I am most grateful for at the moment.
Since mid-March, Orange Sky has asked all employees who are able to work remotely to do so. It might not be much, but skipping the commute has given me extra minutes every day; minutes I can spend on my own family, on myself or getting that final thing done for my Orange Sky family.
My husband and I, in that first week where we were both found ourselves at home but still sending the kids to school and daycare, got to have the first walk by ourselves in SEVEN YEARS! We walked every day that first week and actually got to have a conversation that was not interrupted by children saying “excuse me, excuse me, excuse me!” Yes we spoke about the kids (a lot), but we also planned out future travels, our career paths, our hopes and also our fears. Even speaking about the scary, unknown times ahead made everything feel just that little bit better. As the old saying goes – a problem shared is a problem halved. For that I am grateful.
On March 26, I woke up with a sore throat. I was terrified. Could I seriously have contracted this virus so quickly? We immediately pulled the kids out of school and daycare.
Never have we ALL been more aware of our breathing. Even my husband, who is normally super calm, has said to me, “Every once and a while I will sit there and just ‘check’ that I can take a deep breath.” Now, I am a bit of a hypochondriac at the best of times, but I am thankfully my slight cold-like symptoms resolved within 48 hours after resuming my hayfever tablets.
Small business owners have resurrected their previously-failed fruit, vegetable and eggs delivery service, local butchers are delivering meat packs and cafes and restaurants have switched to takeaway. Even our local family-owned IGA is available to us within walking distance through a secluded shaded pathway, so for weeks we can get away without leaving our house and yet still have an abundance of high quality food… for this I am very thankful.
Now, more than ever, I am also grateful for the connections in my life.
Grandparents who Facetime daily to read stories to my kids, my sister-in-law who bought us extra nappies when the shelves were literally being stripped bare, our neighbours – who we now catch up on our afternoon walks from across the street, and my personal trainer – who has shifted her bootcamps to online sessions five days a week (I’ve literally never been so sore in my life!).
I am so thankful to have a strong network of people in my life who look out for me and give my life meaning.
All in all, this crisis has made me intensely aware of my privilege in having a safe place to hunker down, a roof over my head, good food, clean clothes and access clean, running water to wash my hands whenever I need to.
Our friends on the street who rely on Orange Sky’s services don’t have a lot of these things.
This pandemic marks the first time in the five years since Orange Sky was founded that our service was paused and we were unable to provide our friends with free laundry, warm showers and genuine conversation.
But thankfully not for long.
As we rejigged our safety procedures and found new ways to deliver our service whilst keeping everybody safe, we’re now more committed than ever to our mission to positively connect communities.
The fact is though that I’m not on that front line delivering these services. Given that my own medical history and those of my children put us in the ‘high risk’ bucket, what – when trying to socially distance and halt the spread of COVID-19 – can I actually do?
I can help to #continueconnection by starting conversations with people in my community and spreading awareness about the work of Orange Sky.
I can also donate. As I sit here safe in my home, I can pledge to donate to Orange Sky’s efforts for as long as I have the ability to do so. Along with all the other things I am thankful for, I still have a job and an income and I can use this to help keep our vans running.
We are one community experiencing the impact of COVID-19 together – and we need your support to help us #continueconnection
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to affect families, communities and countries around the world, Orange Sky has been monitoring how best to support the health, safety and well being of our friends, volunteers, supporters and staff.
Orange Sky has a strong and embedded health and safety culture, and we will do all we can to avoid risks that could negatively impact the people in our community. We are currently implementing a measured approach to support as many of our shifts to stay in operation as we can. We will notify of any changes to shifts as required and provide as frequent updates as possible through our channels.
As COVID-19 continues to challenge our communities, Orange Sky’s leadership team has made the decision to close high risk environments such as HQ for the next 14 days, requesting staff to work from home until Monday, 30 March. We will update our community if any of this information changes.
If you are a volunteer, we’d encourage you to work with your local teams to assess your shift situation and determine the level of risk for your attendance.
If you are a service provider, please communicate any changes to your service provision or environment that may have consequences for us partnering with you at your location by completing this form
If you are looking to access our services real time information will be available via our website as to whether services have been cancelled . You can find this at orangesky.org.au/locations
For further, specific information on COVID-19 please visit the Australian Government Health website or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
A special shout out to our friends doing it tough, who might have limited access to services during this difficult time. Stay safe everyone, and please take care of yourselves and each other.
Orange Sky Australia
The COVID-19 pandemic means that Orange Sky is operating in a world where things are changing daily, but what remains the same is the commitment of our team to continue innovating and supporting our friends on the street. After pausing our shifts in March 2020, we are proud to have almost returned to pre-COVID operating levels.
During the month of January, we were able to complete 2,371 washes, 380 showers, 4,782 hours of conversation on 643 shifts across Australia. We continue to add more shifts in more locations each and every week and encourage you to check this page regularly for the most up to date information.
Our team is continuing to work hard to source new shift locations in all areas. All volunteers now complete additional training modules to be able to volunteer safely and we continue to stay up to date and collaborate with state health departments, local councils, police and community partners. As we roll out more shifts, we will also need more volunteers and are currently recruiting volunteers in all of the locations we operate. Sign up to volunteer here.
There has never been a more important time to dig deep and utilise our ability to innovate and find ways to keep the most vulnerable people in our community connected over this time. This does not change our focus on ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our friends, volunteers, fellow service providers and the general public.
We will continue to be guided by the most up to date and reliable information from the Australian Government. We are on a massive journey of innovation and we are incredibly grateful for your support to help us deliver our mission and support our friends doing it tough.
The Victorian Government has announced a mandatory 5-day lockdown across the entire state to combat the spread of COVID-19. Orange Sky is an essential service, and as long as our service provider partners remain open and we have sufficient volunteers, we will continue to operate shifts across Melbourne and Geelong. We have complete trust in our COVID-19 controls to ensure that volunteers and friends are safe, and that the likelihood of transmission on shift is significantly reduced. If you are looking to access our services, please visit our locations page for the most up to date information. As soon as we know that a shift is cancelled, we will update this page immediately. We’re thinking of everyone who has been impacted by this lockdown, and we hope we’re able to continue supporting the community during this time.
Orange Sky is currently offering multiple shifts across states with active cases, whilst ensuring the approved COVID-19 safety controls are in place. Please see further information below if you are a volunteer in a hotspot region. For the safety of our community, if you feel unwell with any symptoms of COVID-19, we are requesting that you do not participate in shifts and you get tested. We are mindful that things may change at any time and we will update any changes here and across our social media channels. Orange Sky will make decisions on our operations for the safety of our volunteers and the community based on the best information at hand. We all need to be responsible and do our bit to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
To all of our wonderful friends who use our service, we are thinking of you at this extremely difficult time. We are excited to say that we are progressively rolling out shifts across Australia. To find out if there is a shift near you click the ‘find a shift‘ button below to access our updated shift location page. We are working as fast as we can to roll out more shifts, hope to see you all back on our orange chairs really soon.
If you are a service provider, please keep us updated with any changes to your service provision or environment that may have consequences for us partnering with you at your location in the future.
Donate funds to help Orange Sky continue to deliver our mission and support our friends doing it tough.
If you’d like more information, please click the link below to get in touch.
Follow our socials for up to date information on how Orange Sky is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as some positive news stories about our community
Flu season can be a particularly hard time of the year for our friends. While we continue to offer free laundry, warm showers and great conversation out on shift, we wanted to take the opportunity to keep you informed with recommended preventions you can take to protect yourself this flu season.
These suggestions are useful to help limit the spread of germs found in the common cold, flu and widely publicised Covid-19 (Coronavirus) currently in the headlines. We don’t want to create alarm, rather we want to ensure that you – our volunteers – are kept informed and can make sensible decisions around your health this flu season.
While we intend for our services to continue operating, if you do feel sick please stay at home and inform your Team Leader. Resting up and consulting your GP is advised.
• Remember to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to commencing work or volunteering, after sneezing and coughing, going to the bathroom, or after touching objects that may have been in contact with people exhibiting flu-like symptoms;
• Use hand sanitiser available on shift;
• Wear gloves while on shift and handling any washing or cleaning items.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick;
• If you feel sick, please stay at home, rest up and visit your GP;
• Know the signs of a flu – fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath; and
Be mindful of physical contact with people displaying flu-like symptoms – consider replacing handshakes with the Orange Sky approved fist bump!
• If you have been in, departed from, or transited through mainland China, Iran or South Korea in the last 14 days, you should:
Self isolate yourself from others for 14 days from the day you departed China, Iran or South Korea. Feel free to roster yourself back on shift at the conclusion of your 14-day self-isolation period; and
Monitor yourself for symptoms.
For further, specific information on Coronavirus, please read through the link from the Australian Government Health Department website. You can also contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for any other guidance as well. https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
Stay safe this flu season, please do not panic, look out for yourselves and each other and if you have any questions, please contact your Service or Team Leader or Service Support on 0488851113 for guidance and advice.
Our first ever staff member at Orange Sky was a web developer. We knew back then that technology would be key to helping us expand – and we couldn’t survive today without the programs our tech team has built.
This International Women’s Day (IWD), we are highlighting three super talented and diverse women who are writing their own #girlsintech narrative through their passion for helping others.
One of the missions of IWD is about celebrating women in tech and championing those who are ‘forging innovation through technology’.
Kaira, Bandita and Alice are part of the Volaby team at Orange Sky. They all bring different backgrounds and skill sets with them, but share the same goal – improved outcomes for our friends.
1. What is your role in the Volaby team
I am the UI/UX Designer in Volaby’s product team.
2. What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend my days gathering research, hunting for bugs on existing features and designing exciting new additions to expand Volaby’s offerings.
3. What excites you about being in not-for profit (NFP) tech?
The NFP industry is one that has faced many challenges in being able to find technology that truly understands its needs, and has often had to adapt its way of operations to fit the mould of commercial platforms.
Just as people need to wear shoes that fit well to walk comfortably, each sector also needs technology attuned to their needs and wants – and being a part of this journey to create technology tailored to the NFP industry is a huge source of excitement and motivation for me.
1. What is your role in the Volaby team
I am a front end developer.
2. What does a typical day look like for you?
I am responsible for implementing the visual elements of Volaby. Although I am known for my love for detail and pixel perfection, I also love to learn everything web-related to stay relevant to the ever-changing tech landscape.
3. What excites you about being in a NFP tech?
My interest in combining technical skills with social good and social impact comes from my background in social work and software development. Technology and digital transformation comes with the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe in harnessing the good of technology to empower communities and tackle some of the challenges of the NFP sector. I am committed to bringing about change in the NPF sector… one line of code at a time.
1. What is your role in the Volaby team?
I am a front end developer
3. What excites you about being in NFP tech?
My interest in combining technical skills with social good and social impact comes from my background in social work and software development. Technology and digital transformation comes with the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe in harnessing the good of technology to empower communities and tackle some of the challenges of NFP sector. I am committed to bring about the change NFP sector needs one line of code at a time.
1. What is your role in the Volaby team?
I am the Customer Success Coordinator.
2. What does a typical day look like for you?
I liaise with our current partners of Volaby to ensure that everything is running smoothly, but also to on-board their volunteers successfully. This is a dream role for me, as it combines a lot of different experiences I have had over the years and piles it into a job in which I wear a lot of different hats (and love it!).
3. What excites you about being in NFP tech?
NFP tech is so different to anything I have ever worked in before – from the founder stories of our partners to the vision and dream of their missions. But it doesn’t stop there – the amazing people that make the vision and mission possible are the volunteers.
Being a volunteer is a commitment of time and character, and finding a way to recognise and reward those volunteers can be a struggle for our partners. Enabling this through technology is incredibly powerful and the most rewarding part of my job.
Kaira, Bandita and Alice are just three of the incredible women at Orange Sky who are making a difference every day. We’re grateful for all the women in our community who help make Orange Sky a place where everyone feels connected, included and genuinely welcome.
The nerves and excitement rolled in together are almost too much to handle. But when I started at Orange Sky Australia a month ago, I learnt very quickly that starting a new job did not have to be scary and stressful.
Here are the five things I learnt in my first month at Orange Sky…
1. Everyone is amazing – and I’m not just talking about that first month in, honey-moon phase. I am talking about a genuine connection. People really want to help you, get to know you and more than anything, make sure that your time at Orange Sky is valued.
2. Colour is king! I have a friend who joked that my new workplace would look like Google – I mean there’s coloured post-it notes lining the walls, whiteboards with some serious brainstorming and ergonomically considerate desks! Orange Sky is passionate about creating the best working environment for everyone, and they do a pretty great job at it.
3. Passion and purpose is palpable – they say if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. For me, if you have passion in what you do, you will continuously want to do more.
4. Pretty stationery doesn’t make you productive. I love stationery and love how organised it makes things look, but does it really help me get more work done? No… it just looks pretty. It’s amazing to have the opportunity to leverage systems of work that are created to enhance productivity and efficiency.
5. Goal set, review, create objectives, build key results – rinse and repeat! Planning is just as important as wearing your favourite T-shirt – it adds something to your confidence, personality and productivity.
Coming from a hospitality and tourism background, it is an absolute breath of fresh air moving into the not-for-profit industry, especially to somewhere like Orange Sky where innovation and creativity is valued.
I now get the opportunity to work with organisations of varying sizes and different missions, but all with a common goal. This sense of community is definitely what connected me to Orange Sky and the role that I am in today.
Interested in learning more about Volaby?
Vehicles are a pretty big part of what we do at Orange Sky (we’re a ‘mobile’ laundry and shower service after all!), so we thought it was fitting to start this month’s safety spiel with some facts about vehicles that you might not know…
It’s a timely reminder as we start a new year to remain vigilant when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle, whether it’s our own or if we are driving an Orange Sky van to shift.
The truth is, there are a thousand different ways to do it! We’ll give you a toolkit with some fun and out of the box ideas, so it won’t even feel like you’re hosting a fundraiser. We’ll also be here to support you the whole way through and keep you going when you just don’t think you can wear those socks for a third day in a row!
You’ve hooked people in with your clothes, but what next? A big part of experiencing homelessness is feeling disconnected from the community, and that why conversations are so important. The idea is that your outfit starts conversations – and in turn, raises some much needed funds for Orange Sky.
Your choice of clothing is totally up to you. You can keep your kit on in one of our event t-shirts (that we’ll send you when you sign up), the comfiest outfit in your cupboard or something that screams ‘I am doing The Sudsy Challenge!’ like a space suit or tutu.
Receive an impact report quarterly, detailing how your partnership has positively impacted the community (ie number of washes, showers and conversations)
As National Partner, we can create customised partnership T-shirts for your team, promoting our engagement and joint branding. These can be our uniform for joint events, fundraising and promotion.
At Orange Sky HQ, we will provide a dedicated co-working space for your team. This is an area for your team to feel part of the Orange Sky journey, collaborate on hack-a-thons and deliver customer meetings that highlight the partnership.
Vehicle Partners support the capital costs (33 percent to 100 percent) of Orange Sky’s laundry ($110k), shower ($110k), hybrid ($140k) or remote vehicles ($140k), for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
National Sponsors commit to donating between $200k – $500k p/a for a minimum term of three years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
Principal Partners are businesses, individuals, institutions or organisations who commit to donating $500k and above p/a for a minimum term of three years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
State partners commit to donating between $100,000 – $200,000 p/a for a minimum term of two years, for which they receive partnership benefits in return as outlined in Partnership Benefits matrix.
An exclusive once a year Orange Sky event that brings together our network of partners, innovators and change makers in the business community. It’s an opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded individuals as we tackle an Orange Sky challenge and hatch new ideas that will help Orange Sky continue to positively connect the community.
We will work with your corporate and social responsibility team to create a workplace giving program.
Working with your Orange Sky Partnership Manager, we will work to create a launch that encompasses your network, stakeholders, community, staff or all of the above. We have had immense impact in the media, industry and community through our creative approach to raising awareness – let us take you on that journey.
Through your unique partner portal login, you will also receive an Annual Impact Report which includes recognition of the partnership, statistics of contribution and how it has impacted the community.
We will supply you with ‘Proudly supporting Orange Sky’ or ‘Proudly supporting www.orangesky.org.au’ logos for your company marketing or event material.
Download a monthly newsletter with details on the direct impact that your contribution is making in the community. Your electronic report will arrive in the form of a co-branded email; a great tool to share with your staff, stakeholders and customers allowing them access to the most up to date information on how you are supporting our friends doing it tough.
Every partnership is a relationship and our mission at all levels is to stay connected. That is why your business will be assigned an awesome Orange Sky manager to keep you up to date on the partnership, our joint engagement and your impact. It’s important to us that you understand just how important you are! We will work with you and support you to identify and create beneficial opportunities to continue to maximize the relationship.
A regular communication on Orange Sky news, events, impact and growth. Can be sent to any number of your staff, customers, partners or community.
Access to leadership team and Orange Sky founders for professional development days, networking events or ideation sessions.
Tailored to your messaging needs, a video capturing our joint partnership produced by the Orange Sky creative team. This case study is a great tool to for internal or external use (ie. end of year reports, company functions, website, social promotion, reception loop etc)
Principal Sponsors are businesses, individuals, institutions or organisations who commit to donating $500k and above p/a for a minimum term of three years for which they receive sponsorship benefits in return, as outlined in Sponsorship Benefits Matrix.