Organizers for the local nonprofit group Outreach Assisting Students in Schools began the 2014-2015 school year hoping to launch its first site in eastern Hillsborough County to provide students free clothing and other basic necessities.
It took more than a year of researching and planning, but OASIS network executive director, Ginger Bean, has announced the group has opened a location within a Seffner public school.
The newest site is the fourth for OASIS since a group of volunteers opened the first in 2001. Bean said families have already begun to donate gently used clothing to help stock the site, which is not publicized for safety and logistics reasons.
School social workers in the SouthShore and Brandon area are beginning to discover the convenience of this new site.
"OASIS has known for several years, based on results of the annual school social worker survey, that we could better serve the school social workers in the east and south portions of the county by opening a facility closer to their schools," Bean said.
According to Bean, approximately 60 percent of Hillsborough County Public Schools students live in poverty. By providing these underprivileged children with basic necessities, OASIS eliminates some barriers that can prevent students from attending school.
"This group is a very reliable resource for clothing and hygiene items for our students with needs," said Ken Gaughan, supervisor of school social work. "The expansion to east county will make these resources more accessible and available in less time. Our community is fortunate to have this help. "
To volunteer, help with donations of new and gently used clothing or to donate money that will pay for items such as hygiene products, shoes, socks, undergarments, backpacks, alarm clocks and school supplies, email OasisNewTampa@aol.com or visit oasis-network.org.
— Eric Vician, Times correspondent