Lay's New 'Everyday Smilers' Bags Feature 30 Americans Making a Difference in Their Communities
They're also bringing back three fan-favorite flavors: Fried Pickles with Ranch, Frank's Hot Sauce, and Kettle Cooked Beer Cheese
Those who know Rodney Smith, Jr. can tell you his smile is infectious, and now the rest of the U.S. will know, too: his pearly whites can be seen on Lay's potato chip bags that are part of the 2020 Smile with Lay's campaign.
Smith, the 31-year-old founder of Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service based in Madison (outside Huntsville), Alabama, is one of 30 "Everyday Smilers" whose stories are featured on Lay's Smiles packaging, selected because of their impact on their communities, including helping the homeless, veterans, youth, the elderly, first responders, and more.
"I'm very grateful for the opportunity for Lay's to recognize what we're doing," Rodney said in an interview with Allrecipes. "It's more than just me; it's for the kids who are taking part in the program that are mowing lawns, just like me, making a difference in their community.
"We're very grateful for the opportunity that Lay's has given us to be featured on the bags so our story can be shared even more, and even more kids will join, hopefully," he added.
In 2015, Rodney was leaving school in Huntsville, Alabama, when he passed an elderly man who looked like he was struggling mowing his lawn. Inclined to help, Rodney stopped and mowed the lawn for the gentleman, and that night decided he would help his community by mowing lawns for the elderly, disabled, single parents, and veterans, free of charge. When he quickly met his initial goal of mowing 40 lawns, he upped his goal to 100 lawns, still free of charge. In a month and a half, Rodney reached his second goal and developed the idea of Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service.
Not only does Rodney continue to mow lawns and support his community — still free of charge — through Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service, he encourages kids ages 7 to 17 to become involved and learn the importance of giving back to their communities by taking part in the 50 Yard Challenge.
Kids who take on the 50 Yard Challenge commit to mowing 50 lawns — for free — for the elderly, disabled, single parents, veterans, or anyone in need of help in the communities. To start, kids send a photo of themselves holding a sign that says "I accept the 50 Yard Challenge" to Rodney; in turn, Rodney sends a white Raising Men/Women Lawn Care t-shirt, and eye and ear protection to get started. For every 10 lawns mowed towards the challenge, kids receive a different color t-shirt.
Once kids have completed the 50 Yard Challenge, Rodney promises to personally deliver brand new lawnmowers, weed eaters, and blowers to them, wherever they may live in the continental U.S. Over the past month and a half, he has driven from his home in North Alabama to Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia to make good on his promise, and mow alongside kids who've completed the challenge, too.
As of Sept. 1, Rodney says that 39 kids have completed the 50 Yard Challenge so far in 2020, and 1,329 are currently working towards mowing 50 yards all across the U.S. and even overseas.
On Sept. 18, Rodney embarks on his ninth 50-state tour (driving to 48 states and flying to Alaska and Hawaii). During the tour, which he's calling "Thank you for your service and sacrifice," he will mow lawns for Gold Star families, Purple Heart recipients, prisoners of war, families of those missing in action, families of active duty members deployed overseas, and veterans of all branches of the military.
When asked how he benefits personally from Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service, Rodney says, "Knowing that I'm leading some kids to be the next generation of leaders; just knowing that I'm making a difference and encouraging kids to do the same.
"When I was their age, I really just liked mowing lawns," he continues. "But to see these kids want to get out and want to mow and want to make a difference is a beautiful thing, and that's what keeps me going — knowing we're making a difference."
In addition to Rodney, 29 other "Everyday Smilers" from across the U.S. can be found on Lay's potato chip bags, like Chad H. in Dallas, who founded Café Momentum, an award-winning restaurant that also serves as a 12-month internship program for juvenile offenders, helping more than 900 young men and women achieve their full potential.
In Suwannee, Georgia, Jack G. created the FoodFinder website and mobile phone app, helping more than 350,000 people find food relief throughout the U.S.; and Tracy Q. in Fulton, Maryland has delivered 44,000 tasty memories to children and families impacted by childhood illness through Icing Smiles.
The Smile with Lay's bags — along with fan favorites Fried Pickles with Ranch, Hot Sauce. and Kettle Cooked Beer Cheese — are available on snack aisle shelves for a limited time. Rodney can be found on bags of Lay's Sea Salt & Vinegar, Lay's Kettle Cooked Original, and Lay's Cheddar & Sour Cream.
To read more about all of the "Everyday Smilers," please visit the Frito-Lay website. As part of the Smile with Lays campaign, Lay's is committing $1 million to benefit Operation Smile, an organization that has provided hundreds of thousands of safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip, cleft palate, or other facial differences.