There’s an old proverbial phrase, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. However, for digital advertising executive Brian Schwartz, getting laid off at the height of the coronavirus pandemic was the last thing the 39-year old New Jersey resident expected.
Dejected and depressed, Brian wondered how he was going to pay the bills and make a living in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that had already claimed countless lives, along with millions of American jobs.
Similar that old proverbial phrase, Brian began reflecting back to a bygone era and to his late grandfather, wondering how he would have handled the situation. He surmised that his granddad would have used this downtime as an opportunity to make “lemonade” and to think of new ways to earn a living, possibly even help those less fortunate.
Soon, with the help of his grandfather’s memory inspiring him, Brian decided to use his downtime mowing lawns for the elderly and veterans for free within his New Jersey neighborhood.
The former advertising exec used his knowledge of marketing to set up a website and Facebook page. That decision ultimately lead to Brian launching his new business in 2020 called “I Want To Mow Your Lawn”.
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“I decided on a whim to put my name out there in some shape or form to help out with tons of bad news going on. I just wanted to do something good,” he told Fox 5, adding, “It feels good, it feels right, following my heart.”
“I just love grandparents. I can only imagine the stress they’re all going through. I realized a lot of them (senior citizens) are on fixed incomes, so I figured there’s a creative way to help them out. Not just physically, but also mentally,” Brian said.
One of those seniors is 73-year old Lois Reichert from West Orange, N.J. “He’s the nicest, most respectful guy in the world. He’s been out twice and I already feel like he’s a good friend,” stated Reichert.
Reichert has a pacemaker and has had more than 18 surgeries. She said that the grass in her back yard had grown so high, “I couldn’t even see the Blessed Mother out there”, referring to a garden statue that had become overgrown with weeds.
“Brian came out and mowed the lawn for free then came back and did all of the weeding,” she said. “What can I say? He’s a gift.”
Another senior, Pam Nardella, had tried to mow her lawn in Elmwood Park, N.J., but it was a laborious and time-consuming task due to her need for a knee replacement.
Trending News – I Want To Mow Your Lawn adopts new green practices: The non-profit organization provides free lawn mowing for seniors, military veterans, and disabled persons. https://t.co/qtmDRUTKir – Share Today pic.twitter.com/AP3CqHCNwF— AZ Landscape and Irrigation (@arizonasolution) January 31, 2022
Soon, Brian’s selfless act of providing a free lawn service for seniors, veterans, and the disabled in his home state of New Jersey expanded to dozens of other states across the country, allowing him to form a nonprofit for that part of his lawn business.
During the winter months, dozens of volunteers also shovel snow away from driveways from homes where seniors and veterans reside.
Brian Christensen is one of those volunteers and helps out in Minneapolis. “It feels good. You know, I think everything that has happened in the past, however many years, has really had people not see the good, and it’s kind of what I like to do. People will see the good in the world, and so yeah, it feels good. It’s exhausting, but it feels good,” said Christensen, after shoveling his third driveway of the morning.
Brian’s mission statement on his website pretty much tells his uplifting story during this unprecedented time within our history.
“Founded in 2020, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, I Want To Mow Your Lawn™ provides 100% free lawn-mowing to people over 65, military veterans, disabled, and under-resourced individuals / families — with green initiatives in mind. For I Want To Mow Your Lawn™ founder, Brian Schwartz, laid off from a digital-advertising job, it was something to do, some way to help, at a time when everything in the world seemed upside down.”
“In time, demand grew — and other volunteers joined Brian. Currently, over 175 volunteers enlisted across 37 states have helped clean-up over 500 yards. For the people that I Want To Mow Your Lawn™ is helping, the grass may not always be greener but it is cut, kempt, edged, and raked.”