Cleaning For A Reason | Lewisville TXDebbie Sardone, owner and president of Buckets & Bows Maid Service in Lewisville for more than 30 years, learned more than a decade ago that her business had a logical extension to help those in need. That is why she started Cleaning for a Reason, worthy of note as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“It started out as a company policy in my own company,” Sardone said. “Many years ago I took a call from a woman at my office just calling to inquire about pricing to clean her home. I gave her a quote, and she said, ‘Oh, I really can’t afford that right now. I am not working because I am going through chemotherapy and radiation.’ She said, ‘Maybe I will call you when I go back to work,’ and she hung up.

“Well that was before caller ID, and I remember sitting there at the time and saying ‘Oh my gosh, why didn’t I give her the cleaning? I could afford to do that. I had plenty of staff, and we are one of the largest maid services in the country.’ I was just very disappointed in myself. It didn’t occur to me to give her that service for free.

“So I made a decision that day,” Sardone said, “and met with my staff and said, ‘The next time a woman with cancer calls our office about cleaning and can’t afford it, just give it to her.” The idea behind Cleaning for a Reason was born.

The Bucket & Bows maids performed a few free cleanings for cancer victims. “We didn’t really promote it,” Sardone said. “But in 2005, I was speaking at a maid service conference, and I shared how I do this Cleaning for a Reason program in my company and how we give away free cleaning. I was speaking to a roomful of maid service business owners. After my talk, I was surprised at how many maid service owners came up to me and said, ‘I want to do that in my own community.’ That is when I realized ‘Oh wow, I could do this idea nationwide, form a nonprofit and get maid services all around the country to participate.’”

Sardone returned to the conference the following year with 501(c)(3) certification, a board of directors, a group of able volunteers and a plan to implement the program nationally. “I rolled out my nonprofit program at the next conference and those same maid services that were there at the previous conference saw that I had a program, was a nonprofit and they joined.”

Today, more than 1,100 maid services across the country participate in Cleaning for a Reason and have given away more that 19,000 free cleanings worth more than $5.5 million. Services provide an initial cleaning and then three follow-up cleanings — usually once a month — to those in need.

“There have been many ‘WOW!’ moments because it touches so many lives in such a personal way,” Sardone said. “I get many ‘WOW!’ moments when I interact with the cancer patients that receive the help.” But one particular milestone stands out.

“That was the day that Swiffer and Walmart called up,” Sardone recalls, “and said, ‘We think your foundation is a perfect fit for us, because we clean homes too. We want to become your official sponsor.’” That was five years ago, and each October since Swiffer and Walmart team up to promote Cleaning for a Reason in store with off-shelf displays and special packaging. “That’s when I knew we were getting someone’s attention,” Sardone said.

Married for 38 years to husband Steve and the mother of two adult children, Sardone is more an absentee owner at Buckets & Bows Maid Service as most of her time is now devoted to consulting and teaching other maid services. But as the inspiration behind Cleaning for a Reason, Sardone has put a certain sparkle on communities everywhere.

Article by Katy Trail Weekly

Cleaning for a Reason

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