On average, 2,621 women in Hillsborough County are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to data provided by the National Cancer Institute. For women with cancer, focusing on recovery may mean that household chores sometimes fall to the wayside.
Several businesses in South Tampa have partnered with Cleaning for a Reason, a Texas non-profit organization which helps women living with cancer by providing free monthly home cleanings through local home cleaning businesses.
“We’d like to take on as many of these philanthropic causes as we can” said Tom Berry, owner of The Maids of Tampa, a residential cleaning franchise located on West Kennedy Boulevard. The Maids have worked with the organization since last summer.
Berry opened The Maids South Tampa location in September of 2004, employing a staff of 18 people and cleaning about 20 homes a day. Berry recognized that for those suffering from cancer, household tasks often fall onto friends and family. The maids joined Cleaning for a Reason to utilize their resources to help alleviate this extra burden.
Cleaning for a Reason was started in 2006 by Deborah Sardone, owner of a maid service in Louisville, Texas. Sardone often encountered women too ill from treatment to keep up with housework, yet could not afford a maid service due to medical expenses. It was from this experience that the mission of Cleaning for a Reason was born.
"We all know what a clean home contributes to your quality of life" said Teri Patterson, Developing Manager at the foundation's headquarters in Louisville.
Since its inception, the non-profit has helped clean the homes of over 4000 women through 999 housecleaning businesses in the U.S. and Canada. Once enrolled, the patient is referred to a partner maid service in their area. A total of $1.4 million in services has been donated so far.
Through the program, The Maids takes two clients at a time and provides 4 free monthly cleanings for each. A cleaning employs four maids that do a thorough, 22-point house cleaning. Each maid is designated a specific task such as cleaning the kitchen, disinfecting the bathroom, vacuuming and dusting. According to general manager Eric Gregory, The Maids have done free cleanings in about 10 homes in South Tampa and Carrollwood through the program. Each cleaning is normally valued at about $140 an hour.
“I really believe in giving back and helping out” said Berry.
The Maids are involved with several bay area charities. Every month they donate a cleaning to the Ronald McDonald House on Davis Island. They have also worked with Younglife Tampa in collecting Crocs footwear to donate to children in Africa.
Cleaning for a Reason is also involved with two other cleaning services in South Tampa: the Royal Maids of Tampa, which also has a North Dale Mabry location, and Service One Building Maintenance Inc. There are many more partners throughout the entire Tampa Bay Area.
Individuals can apply for the program at www.cleaningforareason.org between noon and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. Only 100 applications are accepted into the program each day. The only criterion for enrollment is a faxed doctor’s note verifying treatment for cancer.