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Carson-Newman Operation Inasmuch: 10 years of serving East Tennessee

Carson-Newman volunteers help split firewood at Appalachian Outreach as part of Saturday’s Operation Inasmuch day of service. Pictured left to right are: Rachel Harmon, a junior nursing major; Dr. Karenna Malavanti, assistant professor of psychology; Cole Potter, a freshman film and communications major; and Tyler Snell, a freshman psychology major. The firewood split by the team will benefit those in need around the region this winter.

(Oct. 26, 2014) – On Saturday, Sept. 24, 550 Carson-Newman volunteers took part in the University’s 10th annual Operation Inasmuch service blitz. Teams were comprised of students, faculty and staff members. The groups banded together to volunteer for 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.”

The day’s volunteer sites included such locations as 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.

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 dovetails perfectly 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 what Christianity looks like to us is serving God by serving 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 5,449 volunteers take part in the annual effort, totaling more than 16,300 hours of service.

The program’s names stems from Matthew 25:40, where Jesus says: “Inasmuch as you serve the least of these, you serve me.”

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