Community Groups helping those in need

The Orange Sky Laundry parks up in Coolum each Tuesday from 9am to 12 noon. Pictured are Orange Sky volunteers Di and Kathy with Coolum Team Leader Jay and SOS Food Mart volunteers Shaun (back), Rosa and Stevie. 

Vanessa Hall  


ONE DOESN’T have to look far to realise that there are many doing it tough these days – even in affluent Coolum where rents and house prices are literally sky high, the growing divide between those with and those without is becoming ever more noticeable. However, two local groups are helping those who are in need the most and they’re doing it with a smile!  

Orange Sky Laundry park up their orange van each Tuesday morning in the area next to the Uniting Church in Coolum and the team set about washing and drying clothes for people who require this assistance.  

Maybe someone is living rough, or one’s own washing machine has given up and replacement is not an option due to financial constraints, and we all deserve and need clean clothes, and this is where Orange Sky can help.  

Orange Sky Team Leader for the Coolum area Jay Caruso said that they are in Coolum every Tuesday morning from 9 am to 12 noon.  

“There’s no need to book – just drop by and drop off your items and we take care of the rest.”  

And due to the ever-increasing costs associated with living, more people are using the service.  

“We are definitely seeing more people and there’s a lot more women and the weather changes things to, being colder people can’t easily wash things.  

“In the last 6-12 months in general the demographics of the people using our services have changed,” Jay said.  

Jay also stated that many people coming for clothes washing also make use of the SOS (Save Our Street) Food Mart which is located right next to where Orange Sky park up in a little building which is part of the Uniting Church.  

The SOS Food Mart is open from Tuesday to Friday and is helping those in need with food items. Pictured are Shaun, Orange Sky’s Jay and Rosa. Photos: Vanessa Hall 

“People can come and get some food for home, and we always have the table and chairs set up and we like to share some food, have a coffee and have a chat.”   

Volunteer with the SOS Food Mart, Rosa Boulenaz said it was always a busy morning on Tuesdays.  

“I have volunteers here who help me unpack the boxes which are brought up from Brisbane on Monday, and we allocate items on the shelves, and we also have people who make food which we can all share.”  

The morning we visited; homemade pizza which was lovingly made by Rosa was on offer.  

Not associated with the Uniting Church, the SOS Food Mart are an independent group who provide food via donations for those in need.  

“We have all sorts of people drop items off,” Rosa said.  

Personal items such as toothpaste, sanitary items and non-perishable items are always needed, and people come from all over the local region to use the food mart.  

“I have people who are living on the streets and families who can’t make ends meet,” Rosa explained.  

“Last week we had a guy who is spending almost all of his money on his rent, so to compensate he comes here to get some food.”  

“People can go in there and pick what they want… all of the vegetables are free, and a lady last week came with a trailer load of pumpkins which were grown in Gympie.”  

Donations are always needed, and people can donate whatever they want either as store-bought items, financial help or via excess produce that may have been grown – every item is greatly appreciated.  

Or maybe you just have some time to spare? Drop by and say hi!  


Jump on the Orange Sky website at if you would like to become a volunteer with the group. All training is completed online and is free.  

If you would like to help the SOS Food Mart please drop by with any items. They are open Tuesday 9-1, Wednesday 11-3, Thursday 11-3 and Friday 10-1 and are located next to the Coolum Uniting Church at 22 Elizabeth St, Coolum.  


Orange Sky Australia is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness – an idea founded in a Brisbane garage by two 20-year-old mates, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett. In late 2014, the boys installed a couple of washing machines and dryers in the back of their old van and visited parks around Brisbane to wash and dry clothes for free. What started as an idea to improve hygiene standards and restore dignity to people doing it tough has evolved into something much bigger and more powerful. The service now has multiple locations across Australia.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *