MIDLOTHIAN – Tea, a women's fellowship group of One Church, will host its fifth annual Education Station from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3 at J.R. Irvin Elementary to equip Midlothian ISD Pre-K through fifth-grade students with the school supplies they need to succeed. The event will be held inside the school's gym at 700 W. Ave. H in Midlothian, where One Church holds its worship services at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
One Church's the Rev. Demetrius McClendon, known by his congregation as “Pastor Mac,” explained the “why” of Education Station.
“'Find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it,'” McClendon said, quoting televangelist and author Dr. Robert Schuller. “This way is a way for the church to provide for the community. It's not limited to certain families based on economic factors. It doesn't matter if you drive a Porsche or a '73 Impala. The need for school supplies is something that affects every family.”
Tea and One Church members in collaboration with the Midlothian Police and Fire Departments, Jyro Signs, Tim Brown Foundation and Paul Mitchell The School at Arlington, will provide every item on the MISD school supply list for each grade level free of cost to families.
The event grew out of the Tea women's desire to not only aid the community, but to bring it together in a spirit of unity through service. McClendon's wife, Alexis McClendon, who organized Tea and worked with the other women to start up Education Station.
“We started this event to ensure the educational success of every student in Midlothian ISD and to utilize an opportunity to be the arms of Christ, to give unselfishly,” Alexis said. “It's very humbling and a blessing to help our community. It's been amazing to see all of these organizations come together for the community.”
Families simply have to show up for a fun afternoon with their children and will be greeted every step of the way by volunteers manning supply tables throughout the gym. Each student receives a sticker to wear showing what grade they will be entering for the 2013-2014 school year.
“We will have everything on the supply list for each grade (Pre-K through fifth) divided up with a volunteer at each table to help parents,” Alexis said.
After collecting all of their supplies, students have the opportunity to receive a free hair cut from Paul Mitchell The School professional cosmetologists.
“Each student will also receive three tickets that they can use to receive a drink, hot dog or chips,” Alexis said, noting that tickets can be spent on any of the three choices. “And if the parents want to buy extra tickets, they're only 50 cents a piece.”
After snacking on their lunch, children can have a ball jumping in the bounce houses and playing the carnival games set up by the police department.
The number of families who participate in Education Station has grown each year since it started in 2008 and this year is no different. The organizers expect to provide supplies for 150-200 students. All of those school supplies are purchased with money raised through Tea's bowling tournament fundraiser or donations from generous individuals.
This year's bowling tournament will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, July 22 at Hilltop Super Bowl, 2010 U.S. Highway 287 Business in Waxahachie. Though the deadline is drawing close, a last-minute team of four players can still sign up to play in the 16-team tournament. This year's tournament includes teams from each division of the Midlothian Police Department, including Midlothian Police Association members, the Midlothian Fire Department, church groups and bowling league teams.
The tournament will include a silent auction and all proceeds will go directly to purchasing supplies for Education Station.