Log in Newsletter

Helping Hands

By Nathan Walls

Sue Byrd will tell you that the mission of Operation Inasmuch is to live up to the Bible verse the local non-profit is based upon, Matthew 25:40: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

That mission is displayed in everything the organization does. Started 18 years ago as a volunteer group who assisted others on two Saturdays a month, Operation Inasmuch became an official non-profit in January 2007.

“Everything we do is in the name of Christ,” Byrd said. “That’s what we proclaim here.”

Byrd, the executive director of Operation Inasmuch, will remind you of a sweet mother or grandmother figure who provides insight on the Golden Rule and why you should do the right thing. She is fond of saying that God pointed her to do the work she is doing.

“I didn’t know I wanted to help found Operation Inasmuch,” Byrd said. “I had helped coordinate the volunteer days for 12 years at that point and I knew we needed to do more. It seemed like when God calls you to do something, you just go do it. That had never been my dream to work for the homeless.”

But work for the homeless, she and her staff members certainly have.

With the help of over 80 churches each workday, assistance from individuals and some funding from the City of Fayetteville, breakfast is served each morning at 531 Hillsboro St. to the homeless and struggling.

“Breakfast is important, but it’s part of changing a life; it is part of the beginning of somebody starting again,” Byrd said. “We want them to go onto other things, like our computer classes or a GED.

We partner with Fayetteville Technical Community College and have GED classes here. We’ve had some skills training. We’re trying to develop another program right now, because skills-training is the way to go. We have AA in here every Monday. We have a VA representative in here to deal with our veterans. We have several hundred veterans in our system and they come to us regularly.”

Operation Inasmuch has also been active in repairing homes and more recently in building and providing homes for the homeless on Frink Street. The organization is also trying to change the makeup of the neighborhood to rid it of prostitution and drugs.

“About three years ago, we decided to help people with homes,” Byrd said. “We got into the business of rehabbing and building homes. You can’t really start a life if you don’t have a safe place to lay your head at night. There are some people who will never want to get off the streets. But there are enough people who want to change their lives. They want to work. I wish it were every one of them. We have rehabbed five houses. We just acquired some more property and we’re getting ready to start building again. Our dream one day is to build a shelter for people to have a place to sleep at night. Right now, we are building homes for five people to live in, to learn how to be a family.”

Operation Inasmuch is blessed with many volunteers, but always welcomes more. Anyone wanting to help the organization should first check with their church to see about joining existing efforts. If they want to volunteer or donate on an individual basis, they can contact 910.433.2161.

No matter which way someone decides to help Operation Inasmuch, they will be helping to better a “family” in our community.

“The people who come through our doors, we call them our family,” Byrd said. “They’re not the homeless, they’re not ‘those people’, they’re our family and they make our lives. They’ve added so much to our lives. They don’t realize it but they have. They make us proud, they make us laugh and we love them. That’s why we show up every morning.”