Cedar Rapids family takes on “50 Yard Challenge,” to mow 50 lawns for those in need

A Cedar Rapids family says they were inspired to give back- and they are doing it challenging themselves to mow 50 lawns for people that may need the help.
Published: Jun. 27, 2020 at 6:48 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2020 at 9:55 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cedar Rapids family says they were inspired to give back- and they are doing it challenging themselves to mow 50 lawns for people that may need the help.

A gas-powered engine is a sound seven-year-old Wyatt pushes to hear but comes with its challenges.

“It’s hard for everyone to get the edges,” Wyatt said.

He, along with Zayden and Bella, are on a family-driven path.

“It was this 50 Yard Challenge, that it gets the kids out to mow 50 lawns, and once they mow them, they earn a lawnmower and a leaf blower and a weed eater,” said Marcia Tompkins-Shaw, the grandmother better known as the secretary for the young lawn care experts.

Tompkins-Shaw said she first heard of the idea on TV, then quickly got to work bringing it to eastern Iowa.

“The kids do 5-10 [lawns] a week,” Tompkins-Shaw said. “We’ve got that many people that are asking right now.”

The concept comes from Raising Men Lawn Care Service all the way from Huntsville, Alabama. For Rodney Smith, Jr., the organizers of the program, he says it is his God-given mission.

“It’s a great opportunity and it’s a win-win for people that we mow for, and also for the kids,” Smith, Jr. said. “Because they’re learning how to give before they receive. Which is a very, very important thing that everyone should learn.”

The now nationwide effort asks kids to mow lawns for the elderly, disabled, single-parents, and veterans. It’s something Wyatt was more than happy to contribute to.

“We wanted to start because I just wanted to help people so I could be taking care of people,” Wyatt said.

What started as an idea from a man in Alabama, has grown all the way to Cedar Rapids.

“No matter your age, you can make a difference, and it can be in many different ways,” Smith, Jr. said. “I simply chose a lawnmower to make a difference with, and I hope to encourage these kids no matter the age that they, too, can make a difference, one lawn at a time.”

And for these kids, a lesson has already been learned.

“It’s nice and it’s a respectful thing to do,” Wyatt said.

Making a 50 Yard Challenge for them, one worth taking on.

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