Rodney Smith Jr. has spent the past five years beautifying the world, one lawn at a time.
And it’s fair to say that as the founder of the non-profit group Raising Men Lawn Care Service, the Huntsville, Alabama, resident has done a lot more than that.
He also has mentored youngsters, steering them toward a positive path in life, while providing free mowing, leaf-raking and other services for the elderly, the disabled, single parents and veterans.
With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, Smith has expanded his service. He now provides what he calls “Mow & Drops,” cutting grass and delivering food and supplies in the same trip.
“I realized a lot of elderly people were stuck inside,” Smith said in a recent interview. “Every day I go buy groceries for the people I’m mowing for.”
Smith launched Raising Men Lawn Care in 2015 and began recruiting kids (despite the name, girls are included) to give back to their communities by maintaining the yards of those who don’t have the money, time or ability to do the work themselves.
As is the case with his group’s lawn work, the supply purchases are made possible by donations from the public. He said donors have provided money for him to buy items like fresh fruit, bottled water, hand sanitizer and even toilet paper.
He often posts photos on Instagram showing him next to recipients and the supplies he delivered. Some residents are too ill or disabled to come to the door for photos.
“I left the items in her garage so her daughter can get them for her,” Smith wrote in one post.
It’s not just range of services that have been expanded during the pandemic. Smith also has added a new group of beneficiaries for his charitable acts: “heroes,” meaning doctors, nurses, emergency medical service personnel, police officers, firefighters and men and women serving in the military.
“Thank all for your service,” he said in an Instagram message to the heroes.
For the people benefiting from Smith’s charitable work, the feeling is no doubt mutual.