MIDLOTHIAN — Members of a women’s fellowship group called Tea, along with other volunteers of One Church in Midlothian, members of the Midlothian police and fire departments came together Saturday to hold the church’s fourth annual Education Station.
“Education Station was the idea and dream of several of the ladies in the church to help the children of the community prepare themselves for a successful educational experience,” Pastor Demetrious McClendon said. “It’s our opportunity as a church to give back to the community.”
Robert Schuler is one of the pastor’s favorite authors and McClendon quot-ed him, “Find a need and fill it; find a hurt and heal it.”
“We found a true need in the community to help students and families by providing school supplies and clothing,” McClendon said.
By early Saturday morning, the tables in the gym of J.R. Irwin Elementary School were lined with all the necessary school supplies that a student from pre-kindergarten through the fifth grade would need. Beginning with backpacks, parents and students wound around the tables with the many stations manned by volunteers ready to help gather the needed supplies.
“We purchased the supplies according to the school supplies list published by the area school districts,” McClendon said.
The ladies in the Tea group begin planning for the next years Education Station in September. “They look for sales and by up supplies when they are plentiful and at reduced prices. Some supplies are hard to get later in the year,” McClendon said. “By the time for Education Station we have a full range of supplies.”
The church has helped in raising the funds to purchase the supplies. The Midlothian Police Association makes donations as well as holding a bowling tournament to sponsor the church’s mission. The Midlothian Fire Department as well as corporate sponsors also provide much needed assistance.
Many police officers and firefighters came to guide the visitors and to offer whatever help they could.
Lt. Garland Wolf of the Midlothian Police Department has been a volunteer since the program inception four years ago.
“In our line of work, we see a lot and how important it is to help out and give back to the community,” Wolf said.
Wolf related a memory from one of the previous years.
“This little boy came in with his mom. The boy needed a pair of shoes. He was fitted with a new pair that was donated. He asked me if they were really his now, I said yes. He then related, ‘this is the first time I have had a new pair of go fast tennis shoes.”
One of the many parents attending was Kevin and Laurie Huber. “With four kids in school, it takes a lot to buy all the school supplies the kids need. We need all the help we can get,” Huber said
Some of the volunteers were not members of the church or the community but came to help out. One of those was Son Nguyen, who is in the Metroplex visiting friends.
“I heard about this and came down to do what ever I could do to help out. I love doing charity,” Nguyen said.
In addition to equipping the kids for school, entertainment was provided with several games as well as hot dogs and drinks.
As part of giving back to the community, McClendon said the some supplies left over from the event were given to the Manna House and some to the teachers at the school. “Sometimes a child will come to class with nothing. We provide supplies to the teachers so they can help the children be prepared to learn,” he said.
Education Station is held the first Saturday in August. “We have no financial or other requirements. We are open to anyone who walks in the door,” McClendon said.