Thanksgiving is about more than gathering around a feast of excellent food that you only get to enjoy a handful of times a year. The purpose of the holiday is in the name: giving thanks for the things you have, and maybe giving something to people who need it.
A group of 21 New Jersey seventh and eight graders took that meaning to heart this week. A school bus full of kids, rakes, and recycled paper bags pulled up to neighborhood in Wayne, New Jersey. The kids grabbed their tools and took to the homes of elderly citizens in the neighborhood who would benefit from someone raking their yard for them.
Over the course of the day, the teens went from home to home, gathering leaves for removal free of charge.
The teens’ collected leaves. Credit: I Want to Mow Your Lawn.
“…So, I just packed up my mower into my family Jeep, drove around, and kept going giving social distant yard work free of charge,” Brian Schwartz, founder of I Want to Mow Your Lawn, says.
The volunteer day greenlit by the Ramsey, New Jersey Board of Education was done under the guidance of the nonprofit organization I Want to Mow Your Lawn Inc, which was founded by Brian Schwartz last year. The organization is designed to offer free lawn services to senior citizens and veterans who may struggle with taking care of their yards on their own.
2020 hit just about everyone hard, and Brian Schwartz is no exception. Due to budgetary issues brought on by the global pandemic, Schwartz was laid off from his advertising job. While most people would turn their energy inward during such trying times, Schwartz instead focused on others by starting I Want to Mow Your Lawn Inc.
“I felt like my world was caving in,” Schwartz tells Drew Barrymore. “I went outside to mow my own lawn to clear my mind and think about life—just what’s next—and I found it to be a form of therapy. So, I just packed up my mower into my family Jeep, drove around, and kept going giving social distant yard work free of charge.”
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Support for the nonprofit exploded. In just one year, I Want to Mow Your Lawn has expanded to 35 states with over 150 volunteers backing it, and it’s showing no signs of slowing. Given success of the student volunteers this past week, Schwartz is looking to partner with other schools and inspire other students to support their communities.
As for this group of kids, they will be returning to the area to maintain the senior’s yards and offer leaf removal to even more who need it.
The I Want to Mow Your Lawn truck. Credit: I Want to Mow Your Lawn.
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