TAMPA, Fla. – Although Hillsborough County Public School (HCPS) children return to school this week, OASIS (Outreach Assisting Students in Schools) volunteers have been preparing all summer long to ensure those in need will have access to new uniforms, shoes and other basic necessities to start the year off successfully.
Celebrating its 14th year of supporting HCPS children, OASIS’ newest location is open for its first full school year. The grass-roots non-profit organization expects to serve approximately 1,000 more students with the addition of this new site.
“With the beginning of a new school year, we are excited once again to be able to provide students with basic school necessities – to help them fit in, be comfortable, and excel in school,” said Ginger Bean, executive director of OASIS.
This site will accommodate the increased need of assistance for students in that area who previously were difficult to reach. The new location, along with locations in east Tampa, south Tampa, and north Tampa, will provide free clothing, shoes and other basic necessities to underprivileged students in HCPS. New volunteers are needed as the school district expects an increased need for services this school year.
OASIS and HCPS social workers have a unique partnership that ensures students receive the items they need quickly and efficiently.
“OASIS is one of the most dependable and helpful local resources to help students and families. They provide clothing and hygiene items in an effective and efficient manner,” said Ken Gaughan, supervisor of School Social Work. “This school district is very appreciative of this partnership which supports learning and preparing our students for life.”
Nearly 60 percent of Hillsborough County students live in poverty as evidenced by the amount of students participating in free lunch programs. These children face many obstacles that prevent them for attending school and receiving an education. The mission of OASIS is to eliminate some of these barriers by providing students with clean clothes, school supplies, and other items.
OASIS relies strictly on the support of individuals, schools, churches, foundations, corporations and charitable clubs for donations and grants, as they receive zero government funding. OASIS collects new and gently used clothing and uses monetary donations to purchase uniforms, hygiene products, shoes, socks, undergarments, backpacks, alarm clocks and other school supplies for students.
Anyone interested in helping OASIS through volunteering or donations should email OasisNewTampa@aol.com. More information is available at www.oasis-network.org.