While millions of people across the United States are stuck indoors due to the Coronavirus outbreak, a man from Alabama has continued to mow lawns for free and now, he’s delivering food and supplies as well . Since 2015, Rodney Smith Jr. has been mowing lawns for the elderly, the disabled, struggling single mothers and veterans across the 50 states, and now that he’s stuck in the Huntsville area due to the pandemic, he’s included food-runs to his free services.
“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,” he said to reporter Michelle Matthews from AL.com . “Some have met with me to give me the items.”
Rodney is well-known around the area as the wonderful guy who helps people keep their homes clean and tidy free of charge. Formerly, after Rodney mows a person’s lawn, he’d give them a warm hug and be on his way. However, you can’t hug people anymore now, so he uses a selfie stick to get a picture while maintaining his distance.
Kindness, the one language everyone understands
According to Rodney, he doesn’t charge a dime for his services because the joy across peoples faces is all the payment he needs.
“When she opened the door and saw the items,” he recenlty wrote on Facebook about an elderly client, “she yelled, ‘YAY!’ Seeing her happy this morning made my day.”
As Rodney goes about spreading love and kindness, he meets other kind people who inspire him to do more. He wrote about a man who redirected his deliveries to other people in the neighborhood. Why take in so much when his daughter had already made sure his pantry was fully stocked? Someone else could definitely use the extra.
“He asked me to give them to another elderly person in need,” Rodney wrote.
Making a difference, one lawn, one home, and one smile at a time
Rodney runs the Raising Men Lawn Care Service, a non-profit organization whose aim is to touch lives by helping people around the country who can’t mow their own lawns. Rodney started the non-profit in 2016 when he was a student at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville.
Today, the organization has 710 boys and girls as volunteers across the country. They encourage the children to keep up the good work by rewarding them for each milestone achieved. For every ten lawns mowed, they receive a different-colored “Raising Men Lawn Care” shirt. After the first 50 lawns mowed, they receive their own lawn mower, weed eater, and leaf blower.
8 times in the past 5 years, Rodney has toured all 50 states on a mission he calls the “50 states, 50 yards tour”. Every tour has a different theme and at the end of each one, he donates the lawn mower to charity. This year’s tour was postponed due to the coronavirus crisis, but he’s determined to pick up right where he left off when everything blows over.
“I’m just mowing and doing what I love to do best: helping others,” Rodney said.
- Kelly Kazek. Alabama man who mows lawns for elderly now delivers free meals and big smiles to shut-ins. Sothern Thing. https://www.southernthing.com/alabama-man-who-mows-lawns-for-elderly-now-delivering-free-meals-and-big-smiles-to-shut-ins-2645577869.html. Retrieved 29-03-2020
- Michelle Matthews. In Alabama, Rodney Smith Jr. now doing ‘mow and drop’. AL. https://www.al.com/life/2020/03/in-alabama-rodney-smith-jr-now-doing-mow-and-drop.html. Retrieved 29-03-2020
- Dr. Jockers. Coronavirus: Symptoms, Prevention & Natural Options. The Hearty Soul. https://theheartysoul.com/coronavirus-symptoms-prevention-natural-options/. Retrieved 29-03-2020
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