He is passionate about his community, always up for a chat, and never fails to put a smile on your face.
It’s no surprise that when he heard that an Orange Sky van was headed for his local area in Perth South, he was the first in line to know about it.
“I thought, ‘this is going to be interesting. I’d like to see how the van is set up’,’’ he said.
He decided to bring some washing down to our first shift at Rockingham to have a chat with volunteers and learn more about the service. Since that initial visit, he is now one of our most regular faces on shift – sometimes he comes to do his laundry, other times for a hot shower, but always for the conversation.
“I quite look forward to it every week, simply because I know you guys are going to be here. I can rely on you,’’ he said.
“It’s things like this that enable me to do the right thing. I don’t have to worry about trying to get some money together just to wash my clothes. Community is really important, I like to look after the community and the people in it.’’
George has spent the past eight years living on and off the street and said it was the simple things that often had the biggest impact.
“When you’ve been homeless for such a long time, it’s the small things that can give you a little bit more hope,’’ he said.
“I won’t go looking for a job if I stink and my clothes are dirty, but if I’ve got nice clean clothes and I smell nice and someone wants to talk to me about having a look at a job, I’ll definitely be in it.
“So that little sort of scenario can set up other scenarios that will help better my life, and if it betters my life, how many other lives can it better?”
He admitted that while it was easy to become withdrawn from the community, the weekly conversation and banter with Orange Sky volunteers helped him to feel connected.
“I can come down [to shift] and start talking about fishing, camping, whatever and you guys are always a good laugh and join in. You throw your stories in and have a good laugh,” he said.
“It just alleviates a lot of pressure out of people’s lives and that can really help people.”
When George reflects on all of his conversations with volunteers, it was one from his first ever visit to Orange Sky that comes to mind.
“I told her a little bit about where I was from up North and it was quite interesting, we just sat there talking like old friends for a good hour and a half while the washing was getting through. It was great, I really enjoyed it. It was fantastic to see that some people like to share themselves as much as I do.’’
It’s our privilege to be able to wash George’s clothes and offer him a hot shower each and every week, but an even bigger honour to enjoy his conversation and have him as a part of the Orange Sky community.
Interested in joining the team?
Check out our volunteer page to find out more and register to get involved.