KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hundreds of volunteers around East Tennessee have taken part in Operation Inasmuch, a faith-based nonprofit that works to mobilize volunteers to give back and help those in need, for over a decade.

David Crocker founded Operation Inasmuch in 2007 when he pastored a church in North Carolina. The name comes from the Bible’s New Testament, Matthew 25:40 “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

“So when we serve someone we not only give them help for their immediate need – may be hunger, maybe shelter – whatever that need may be. But we give them hope because someone has stepped up to help them and that gives the person hope,” said Crocker.

Operation Inasmuch is an example of what people can do when they volunteer their time and service.

“One of the things that has gotten to be a little bit bigger in our toolbox is food packing events where we pack thousands of meals to serve hungry people,” said Crocker.

Over the years, Operation Inasmuch has expanded into 25 states and over 2,300 faith groups have participated in service projects to improve people’s lives.

“Wheelchair ramps a number of those. We do things to take care of the elderly, children that are disadvantaged,” said Crocker.

It’s the power of people working together to tackle a project that can make a difference to the one being served and the one who volunteers. Crocket said that serving others “can change hearts and minds and in some cases, it can transform lives.”

“Some people believe they don’t have enough time. I say it that way because I contend we all have the same amount of time. It is whether or not it is a priority,” said Crocker.

Crocker has penned a book about serving.

“Compassionaries, Unleash the Power of Serving is the book that I wrote just recently this is to help people at a deeper level what serving is all about so it means more to them and it also enhances the effectiveness of their serving,” said Crocker.

Volunteering is a great group activity for civic groups, youth groups, workplaces, churches, schools, you name it. Some volunteer programs bring people from diverse backgrounds together for a purpose that goes beyond what they do. The next area-wide Inasmuch volunteer day is at the end of the summer. There will be more information on that as the time nears.