Smith County donated surplus computer equipment this week to Mustard Seed Ministries to be given to local school children.

Dr. Karen Jones, founder and president of Mustard Seed Ministries, along with three technicians, picked up surplus technology equipment Tuesday, October 3, 2017, collected by the Smith County Information Technology Department.

Smith County Commissioners voted to donate surplus computer equipment to the local ministry that supplies them to school children. Donated items included 63 computers, 64 monitors, two scanners and seven printers.

Dr. Jones said she has received several thousand machines from Smith County over the years.

“We appreciate the partnership that we have with Mustard Seed Ministries and their commitment in serving the schools and children in Smith County through the repurposing of our donated technology,” Smith County IT Director Don Bell said. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with this outstanding organization.”

For years, Smith County has donated outdated and broken computer equipment, including monitors, desktops and printers, to Mustard Seed Ministries. The nonprofit organization dismantles and reassembles the equipment and donates them to school children who do not have computers. The nonprofit has given more than 11,000 computers to local schools since 2001, Dr. Jones has said.

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 about 11,000 computers.

They also teach weekly beginner and intermediate computer classes, a one-time Windows 10 class, popular with business owners; and a gadget class, geared toward teaching people how to use their new electronic gadgets. Dr. Jones said they partner with Workforce Solutions East Texas and see a lot of jobseekers in their beginner 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