“We’ve never bought a roll of toilet paper, never bought a roll of paper towels, never bought a staple,” said Mary McKenna, Executive Director of the Southeast Texas Hospice.

Thursday was the yearly event that covers their office needs. The tea has been held for more than two decades, but exactly how many years, McKenna couldn’t say. “I get asked that question, but…” she shrugs her shoulders indicating she doesn’t really know. 

The idea for the tea came when they opened in their present location. As a nonprofit, funds are always in short supply. With the Toilet Paper Tea taking care of their office needs, more money can go towards patient care.

Jill Smith is a fairly new member of the hospice, just joining the organization this summer. “I’ve been a cancer nurse for 27 years,” said Smith. “I’ve just moved from the hospital setting… I love it here!” She said, “It’s very rewarding…helping people transcend.”

The pile of donations continued to grow spilling out from under the tree for several feet as members of the community came and went leaving donations of cash and goods; filling their belly with a vast assortment of finger foods and desserts, while visiting with old friends and new acquaintances.

It looks like they may not have to buy toilet paper this year either.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.