In the midst of upcoming finals, impending graduation and dreams of summer plans, hundreds of Campbell students and faculty gave up a Saturday morning to serve their community.
The morning of April 17 marked Campbell's third celebration of Operation Inasmuch, a community service ministry launched in 1995 by Fayetteville's own Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.
The project's foundation is Matthew 25:40, "â€¦Truly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."
Three-hundred and fifty Camels, young and old, tall and small, lived out Jesus' teaching by volunteering to tutor math, landscape, visit nursing homes and participate in other service experiences.
Sophomore elementary education major Amber McNeill explained why she's doing Operation Inasmuch for a second year.
"It's not all about us. We need to take time to realize people are in need and that we should help," she said.
One of McNeill's fellow project members at the Cape Fear River Park's Earth Day celebration agreed.
"I want to help kids, see smiles and have a good time helping others," said clinical research graduate student Lashanta Herring.
True to the mission of Operation Inasmuch, local produce farmer and Earth Day vendor Teresa Thomas expressed the ties Campbell students have made to the community.
"It's excellent that they're here. They've been very helpful, and I think it's a wonderful experience for them," said Thomas, part owner of Just-A-Growing Produce of Lillington.
Earth Day leader and Erwin Chamber of Commerce member Pam Addison also described the positive impact Operation Inasmuch and its Campbell participants have made.
"They're Heaven-sent. They've been fabulous with helping set up vendors, tables, tents and ridesâ€¦ We definitely want them back next year!" she said.
During a highly anticipated lunch break, tired but cheery students said the early morning and hard work were worth the results.
"We should do more stuff like this because the kids needed extra help. I enjoyed it because I love interacting with kids," said sophomore biology/pre-PA student Marissa Washington, who volunteered to tutor math with the Y. E. S. Math Club in Lillington.
Junior business administration major Laura Blake, another math club tutor, agreed.
"It was very rewarding and nice to know we could help and be a positive influence," she said.
Campus Minister Faithe Beam summed up her perspective of the day.
"Operation Inasmuch stirs up much excitement: watching hundreds of students, faculty, and staff gather in Academic Circle, seeing members of the Campbell community connect with persons they don't know, empowering students to go into the community and serve others in ways that may be out of their comfort zone, capturing the smiles, being filled with joy of service, and hearing the stories that follow after a day of giving. This day of opportunity is truly a ministry to all," she said.
Photo Copy: Stephanie Bradshaw and Snehal Patel place pine straw needles around Cape Fear Christian Academy in Erwin. Photo by Chelsea Wilde, student photographer.
Prepared by Sara McCarthy, student writer