'50 Yard Mowing Challenge' inspires others to provide free lawn services to those in need

ByWhit Johnson
Sunday, July 5, 2020
50 Yard Mowing Challenge: Volunteers mow lawns for free
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An online challenge is inspiring people to help others 50 lawns at a time.

DETROIT, Mich. -- One man looking to make a difference has sparked an online challenge that is inspiring others across the country.

His name is Rodney Smith, and not only did he start the "50 Yard Mowing Challenge," but he's also incentivizing those who participate.

A pair of brothers from Detroit heard about it and are just two who have accepted the challenge.

In three months, Sam and Hunter have mowed more than 50 lawns in their neighborhood for free. Their goal, inspired by Smith, is to help disabled veterans, the elderly and frontline workers - even if they don't necessarily ask for it.

"We thought this would be a great thing to get involved with and they were on board to do it," their mother said. "[It's] to help somebody who wasn't even asking for help but really needed it."

Motivated by a simple message: "make a difference, one lawn at a time," his cause is going viral in communities across the country. The goal is to challenge youth to cut 50 lawns for anyone in need -- at no cost.

"Back in 2015, I was leaving school one day [and] I came across an elderly man outside mowing his lawn. It looked like he was struggling. That night I decided I'd start mowing free lawns for the elderly, disabled, single parents, and veterans," Smith said.

The only requirement to participate is to send a photo holding a sign saying, "I accept."

An online challenge is inspiring people to help others 50 lawns at a time.

"He sets goals for each lawn mowed," Smith said, "10, 20, 30, 40 and finally 50."

When you reach 50, Smith personally makes the trip to deliver you a free lawn mower, weed eater and blower.

So far Smith has traveled to about 25 states, motivating more than a thousand young people along the way.

When Sam and Hunter finished their challenge, Rodney made the 10 hour drive from Alabama to Michigan.

"It was just amazing to see him," Sam said.

"It's heartwarming that he does that kind of thing but for us to do it is even better," Hunter added.

"It's not just about mowing the lawn, it's about connecting and being with people especially through the pandemic right now," their mom said. "We've all grown from it."