Rodney Smith is a young man from Bermuda who’s lived, studied, and worked in Alabama for years. When he was just 15 years old he came across a senior man who was struggling to mow his lawn. Rodney decided to help him and this ended up changing his own life forever.
After helping the elderly gentleman, the Alabama student got inspired to help other people in his community as well. He decided to focus on the elderly, disabled, single moms, and veterans in particular.
When asked what drove him to do this, Rodney said that it was both the pleasure of helping others and the desire to contribute to his community. Even as a young student he realized that most people derive pride from the good look of their homes and lawns but many of them just don’t have the ability or time to do that.
After mowing hundreds of lawns over the years, Rodney decided to start doing things on a bigger scale and launched a nation-wide organization called “Raising Man Lawn Care Services” (RMLCS). The organization works by spreading Rodney’s message and inspiring other young kids to take the “50-yard challenge” with him.
What this challenge includes is as clear as it is fascinating – kids who choose to take part in it are asked to mow 50 lawns for their neighbors and people in their community. Their own lawns obviously don’t count and “swapping lawns” between participants is also against the spirit of the challenge.
In addition to the satisfaction of helping others, Rodney and the RMLCS are sending branded t-shirts to the kids for every 10 lawns they’ve mowed with the coveted black shirt after lawn #50.
So far over 700 kids from all 50 states have started the challenge and many of them have finished it too. Rodney also shared in an interview with WZDX News that kids from all over the world are also invited to participate in the 50-yard challenge.
The organization’s motto is “Making a difference one lawn at a time.”
„We wanted the kids to put down the video games and get out and make a difference in their community with a lawnmower,” Rodney said. “And what better way to do that than our 50-yard challenge? Every kid who’s taken part in our 50-yard challenge so far has loved doing it.”
Unfortunately, the still-raging Covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench in Rodney’s efforts as it did with so many other people’s work. But Rodney didn’t let that stop him. He quickly realized that the ensuing health and financial crisis has left the elderly, disabled, working mothers, and veterans with even direr needs so he switched gears from just lawn mowing to delivering free meals and supplies to seniors and other people in need.
Rodney and other kind-hearted people like him are calling the new service “mow and drop” as they’re dropping the supplies outside of people’s doors to maintain social distancing. The organization is funding these efforts through donations of both money and supplies. The donations can be made through the RMLCS’ original Weareraisingmen.com website.
“People have been donating money for hand sanitizer, fresh fruit, water, toilet paper, and other items for those who can’t get outside of their house,” Rodney told Al.com. Rodney is also making sure to share his efforts as actively on social media as possible, not for the sake of personal glory but to popularize the movement and hopefully inspire others to join in as well.
He has suspended the 50-yard challenge for now due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is hopeful people will get through the crisis soon and things will get better.
“I’m just mowing and doing what I love to do best: helping others,” he said.
Rodney’s organization may be small for now but that doesn’t diminish his efforts in any way. With Covid-19 unleashing both a health and an unemployment crisis, food banks across the country and the rest of the world are struggling to cope. The queues for food have been overwhelming and most food banks have been left both understaffed and underfunded.
This means that even those who can’t physically lend a helping hand can still have a tremendous impact on their community by donating even a little to organizations such as Rodney’s, Feeding America, or others.