C-N’s Operation Inasmuch Volunteers Blitz County with Service
Serving Seniors - C-N students MacKenzie Britton (left) and Chantall Hamilton stack salvaged items at the Strawberry Plains Senior Center Saturday morning. The Operation Inasmuch team was one of 38 that served at sites from Maryville to Morristown. C-N was the first college or university to implement the OI model.
The Strawberry Plains Senior Center is much closer to settling in its temporary location, thanks to the efforts of some two dozen Operation Inasmuch volunteers from Carson-Newman.
Negative impact from flooding earlier this year included mold and mildew, forcing officials to mandate the move from the Oak Street location. County inspectors said the facility, which has been flooded several times over the years, was beyond saving. Strawberry Plains First Baptist Church has loaned the center the use of a home until a permanent location can be found.
Senior Center Director Janie Brooks said the difference made Saturday morning by the team, which consisted of students and faculty of C-N’s School of Nursing and Behavioral Health, was “unbelievable.” In just a few hours the Operation Inasmuch group helped Brooks sort trash from undamaged supplies, including craft material and games. They readied salvaged items for transport to the interim location yesterday.
“My seniors are (in their) 70s, 80s, 90s,” Brooks told WBIR in a televised report. “They can’t physically do this work, but for these students to come in and help, I can’t tell you what it means.”
OI Student Coordinator Cloi Craig said the Strawberry Plains project was one of 38 service sites. While some teams served in Hamblen County, Knoxville and Maryville, the bulk of work focused on social agencies and schools across Jefferson County.
“It’s important for us to serve,” said Craig, who has coordinated the event for three years through C-N’s Bonner Center for Civic and Social Engagement. “I think we’re called to do that and to love the people around us.”
A workforce of 565 volunteers generated some 1600 man-hours Saturday morning. Since becoming the first college or university to host an Operation Inasmuch event in 2006, C-N’s Campus Ministries Office has registered 2965 OI participants who have invested 8895 total hours in service to the Lakeway region.
“It’s great that everyone comes together and to see how they come back dirty and sweaty, but liking the work they have done,” said Craig, the student coordinator for the event. “My favorite thing is (when) students come back to the Bonner Center wanting to do more community service.”