Smith County gives more than 100 pieces of electronic equipment to ‘Computers 4 Kids’ ministry


Photo: Dr. Karen Jones, founder and president of Mustard Seed Ministries, stands with volunteers (from left) Stan Moore, Joe Cuthbertson and Bill Caldwell. The group picked up surplus IT equipment donated to them by Smith County on May 3, 2021. (Courtesy)

TYLER, TEXAS (KETK) — 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 included 96 desktops, 33 laptops, 38 monitors, 15 printers, six scanners, two Switches and three iPads.

In 2020, all students in East Texas were out of school and learning from home for a time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Jones said the “Computers 4 Kids” ministry worked overtime to keep up with the demand, which nearly doubled last year.

“During 2020, we refurbished and distributed 1,006 computers,” she said. That makes 13,533 computers they have given away in their 19-year history, she added.

“We greatly appreciate Smith County IT for their generous support of our ministry,” Dr. Jones said. “Smith County’s contributions of county surplus are a major boost to our ministry.”

For years, Smith County has donated outdated and broken computer equipment to Mustard Seed Ministries.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.

Mustard Seed supplies schools in Tyler, Whitehouse and Mineola.

Dr. Jones said they have also seen a significant need for laptops from college students due to online classes. “Our volunteers work many 12-hour days trying to keep up with student needs,” she said.

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. Mustard Seed now has about 13 volunteers, including three who teach 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

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