New Jersey teens create landscaping business to raise money for charity

MORRISTOWN, New Jersey -- 14-year-old Matthew Sullivan had three goals in mind during the COVID-19 pandemic: stay busy, make money, and help others.

In his effort to put his skills to use, Sullivan started his own lawn care business, Leaf-it to-Us, with the help of his friends Christian VanderGroef, CJ Piccola, and Eric Ottaiano.

"You turn on the news and you see all these negative things, so we just wanted to do something positive, and we decided to go local," said Sullivan.

Last year, the teens donated 10% of their proceeds to St. Jude Children's Hospital, but this year, as a result of the pandemic they decided to help out their local food drive, Help Morris Now.

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"Seeing kids go out in the morning, working hard to raise funds and giving it back to the community, to me that was the most touching thing we could've had," said Nestor Bedoya, organizer of the Help Morris Now food drive.

Riding their electric dirt-bikes, the group drives around from job to job, providing their customers with landscaping services like weeding, mulching, planting, and leaf blowing.

"As a parent, we couldn't be more proud of our kids and what they're doing," said Kathleen Sullivan, mother of Matthew Sullivan.

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The teens are now getting calls from all over their county, requiring their parents to drive them around.

"I love that I can give back to the community doing a small part," said Christian VanderGroef.

The group hopes to continue running their landscaping business as long as their mission stays the same: helping others in need.

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