Carson-Newman News Office
JEFFERSON CITY — On a recent Saturday, 535 Carson-Newman University volunteers took part in the school’s 10th annual Operation Inasmuch service blitz.
Teams were comprised of students, faculty, and staff members. The groups joined to conduct service projects across Jefferson, Knox, and Hamblen counties.
“The fact that we have been able to make this a priority and do this every year working as a team speaks to how much we value serving through Operation Inasmuch,” says Anya Piotrowski, community development coordinator with Carson-Newman’s Bonner Center, which oversees the event.
“Hundreds of hours go into making this one day of service happen. Everyone is really invested in making sure it’s a success,” she said.
The day’s volunteer sites included Jefferson City’s Appalachian Outreach, Habitat for Humanity, and Samaritan House; Knoxville’s Global Seeds; and Morristown’s Rose Center and Panther Creek State Park.
The program’s name stems from Matthew 25:40, where Jesus says: “Inasmuch as you serve the least of these, you serve me.”
Operation Inasmuch founder Dr. David Crocker was on campus Saturday morning to encourage volunteers.
“I’m thrilled to death that Carson-Newman has taken the Inasmuch model of community ministry to another level,” said Crocker. “For me, as I go around the country telling other people about Inasmuch, the fact that Carson-Newman has been doing it for so long is a bragging point.”
Crocker, who served for several years as senior pastor of Knoxville’s Central Baptist Church of Fountain City, says he hopes the experience has a profound impact on the way students approach life.
“My hope is that they take away the importance of giving of themselves to help other people, and that this will simply reinforce, or maybe for some, start a whole new way of thinking in terms of a value for life that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. I would like for this generation to build on that and do what my generation hasn’t been quite as good at doing.”
Piotrowski says the annual event is compatible with what the university tries to instill into its students.
“It’s about our mission and serving and what service looks like to us and others,” she said. “Service is a way to give back and be in involved in the community.”
Since becoming the first college or university to host an Operation Inasmuch event in 2006, Carson-Newman has had 5,435 volunteers take part in the annual effort, totaling more than 15,000 hours of service.