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A helping hand for independence

Surprise couple’s business handles seniors’ everyday chores for what they can afford

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Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 4:30 pm

A Surprise husband and wife have started a business designed to help the elderly and disabled perform everyday tasks they may no longer be able to undertake because of health issues and lack of assistance.

Jeff Roberts, a Valley police officer, and his wife, Kasey, a Surprise teacher, have seen firsthand the toll it takes on seniors wanting to remain independent.

Other times, Jeff Roberts said, seniors simply begin to give up and neglect everyday tasks, meaning grocery cabinets go unfilled for weeks and yards become more and more unkempt.

But through their no-charge business, “Allow Me,” the Roberts perform grocery shopping, cleaning, yard work, laundry, meal, transportation and house-sitting duties.

Allow Me, which has been operating for several months, has helped about a dozen seniors throughout the Northwest Valley, primarily in Surprise, the Sun Cities and Wickenburg, where Jeff Roberts grew up and attended high school.

Roberts said giving back only seems right.

“It’s just something that my wife and I have a desire to do,” he said.

“We want to give back to those who have built this community and who have put their time and effort in. I think there’s a lack of that (sense of giving back) nowadays amongst younger people,” he said.

The Surprise resident recalled a recent phone call he received from an elderly woman in a wheelchair. She requested assistance from her taxi to the front door of a nearby medical center.

The distance from the vehicle to the medical center was less than 10 feet, but Roberts said medical center staff members couldn’t or wouldn’t perform the service. Roberts received $5 for a service that took less than a minute to complete.

“If she calls again, I’ll do it every single time,” he said.

While money is not the main goal, Roberts admits Allow Me is a business with overhead costs to purchase cleaning supplies and yard tools.

Roberts said he understands many seniors are on fixed incomes and cannot afford to pay for the services.

“It’s strictly on their shoulders,” he said of the desired compensation. “I believe you get what you put in, and the harder you work, the more you’ll be rewarded. When I do a job for somebody, I do it to the best of my ability.”

In short, the Roberts want to be able to help everyone and not turn them away, though the couple is not in it to perform pro-bono work. Admittedly, they want to supplement their income.

“Our time is worth money, and we expect people to pay. But we don’t want anyone to hesitate calling us for something that really needs to be done because they can’t afford something,” Roberts said. “I’ve driven all the way across town for $5. It’s not something that gets questioned or where I don’t answer the phone the next time they call.”

Roberts said he hopes those who can afford to pay more will dish out extra cash to compensate for those who cannot afford very much.

While Allow Me receives volunteer assistance on occasion, Roberts said he one day hopes to expand his two-person business. In the end, though, Roberts says he’s blessed to be able to help others. He enjoys giving back and being rewarded through heartfelt gratitude.

“I’ve had people look me in the eye, shake my hand and tell me that I’m a godsend,” he said. “It’s just amazing that people are so appreciative. If I could do it for free, I would.”

For information about Allow Me, call Jeff Roberts at 602-410-6812 or visit www.allowme2.org.

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or zcolick@yourwestvalley.com.

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