‘Santa’ Rodney visits 50 states in 25 days – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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‘Santa’ Rodney visits 50 states in 25 days

Bermudian Rodney Smith is giving Santa Claus a run for his money this Christmas.

The internationally renowned charity worker has travelled to America's 50 states in 25 days delivering gifts and essential items to the homeless, while dressed as Saint Nicholas himself.

His latest efforts are an extension of a drive he initiated last Christmas when he helped the homeless in all the major cities in Alabama, where he is based.

Mr Smith, who shot to fame this year for mowing lawns across the States for the needy, told The Royal Gazette: “I decided to take it a step further this year and travel to all 50 states to meet homeless people.

“I asked them what Christmas means to them, asked them about their story and then gave them tents, sleeping bags, blankets and backpacks with hygiene products, all wrapped up.

“Then I asked them for the one thing they wanted for Christmas and I went out and bought it for them.”

Mr Smith, 29, was inspired to launch the drive when he met a homeless man at a gas station in Huntsville, Alabama.

The initiative is funded by private individual donors including some of his 200,000 social media followers.

Mr Smith, who was brought up in Warwick, has given out about 100 gift packs across the States. This is the fourth time Mr Smith has travelled the 50 states helping the less fortunate but he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Next year he plans to travel around the world to build on his 50 Lawns Challenge which he runs through his Raising Men Lawn Care Service.

The service is a platform for young people to give back to their community through mowing lawns, shovelling snow and raking leaves for free.

“It is offered to those in need including the elderly, disabled, veterans and single mothers.

Mr Smith said: “I plan to stay a couple of days in each continent — one full day of mowing and then another day going to schools encouraging children to join the 50 Yard challenge.

“I just want to talk about community service and encourage them to join in. We already have 270 children right now taking part.”

Mr Smith has been featured in news segments across America and around the world including The Washington Post, BBC, Fox News and the Huffington Post.

Asked whether the attention has affected him, he said: “It makes me want to do more and come up with new ideas about how I can help people.

“It helps get the word out. The whole object is to encourage others to get out and help the homeless in their community.”

Mr Smith said he heard many stories about people falling on hard times leading them to become homeless. He said: “For all the people who have no homes, I want to let you know that there are people who care like myself and all the people who donated.

“One thing I have found with a lot of people in the homeless community is that they feel invisible, so I just want them to know that we see them, we care for them.”

Spreading Christmas cheer: Bermudian Rodney Smith is helping the homeless across the United States this Christmas

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Published December 24, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated December 24, 2018 at 8:05 am)

‘Santa’ Rodney visits 50 states in 25 days

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