The Smith County Communications Office strives to promote transparency by providing the public with the most accurate, accessible and up-to-date information possible while promoting the county's brand and message of "Striving for Excellence."
Located on the first floor of the Smith County Annex Building
200 E. Ferguson, Suite 100
Tyler, Texas 75702
Email: Casey Murphy
Smith County Donates to Mustard Seed Ministries
Smith County donated surplus computer equipment this week to Mustard Seed Ministries that will be refurbished and given to local school children.
Dr. Karen Jones, founder and president of Mustard Seed Ministries, received the donation from the Smith County Information Technology Department. Items include 99 desktops, 64 laptops, one tablet, 85 monitors, 14 printers, and three scanners.
Since all students in East Texas are out of school and learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need is greater than ever. Dr. Jones said her ministry cannot keep up with the demand.
“Mustard Seed’s mission has always been based upon the understanding that technology is essential for learning – whether it be during regular conditions or like now, during distance learning,” Dr. Jones said. “To succeed, students need tools for research, paperwork, printing and creativity; and only a computer can handle these needs. Mustard Seed wants every student to have this valuable tool.”
They distributed 66 computers during the last two weeks of March, and through Thursday, April 16, have given out 171 computers to local school children who need them. Every Tuesday and Thursday, refurbished computers are distributed on a “first come, first serve” basis.
For years, Smith County has donated outdated and broken computer equipment to Mustard Seed Ministries. The nonprofit organization dismantles and reassembles the equipment and donates them to school children who do not have computers.
“Fifty percent of what we give away has come from Smith County,” Dr. Jones said. “Beginning on Monday, those numbers will change to Smith County contributing 75 percent of what we distribute … Smith County is definitely a partner in promoting academic success in our East Texas students.”
Smith County IT Director Don Bell said the county appreciates the partnership it has with Mustard Seed Ministries and their commitment in serving the schools and children in Smith County through the repurposing of our donated technology.
“We look forward to continuing our relationship with this outstanding organization,” he said.
Dr. Jones said they have also received equipment from other companies, as well as personal donations.
Mustard Seed supplies schools in Tyler, Whitehouse and Mineola.
In 2001, a small group formed to teach a one-time computer class to 15 students. A year later, they received their first donation of salvaged computers. Now, with a team of 20 volunteers, Mustard Seed Ministries has given away more than 11,000 computers. They also teach several computer classes.
Mustard Seed Ministries, at 1420 N. Church Ave., is a nonprofit organization and a working extension ministry of the United Methodist Church. For more information, visit www.mustardseedcomputers.com.