Mary Wetterling volunteering to sort donations for OASIS.

Bloomingdale High School recently partnered with OASIS to become a drop site for gently used or new clothing, which are given back to low-income or at-risk students in the community. OASIS, or Outreach Assisting Students in Schools, is a nonprofit organization that provides basic necessities to students in need in Hillsborough County. It was established in 2001, and has grown to service over 11,000 students per year.

There are currently four clothing closet locations across Tampa and Seffner. Social workers can visit these sites to pick up items for students. This usually includes two school outfits, socks, underwear, tennis shoes, a jacket, hygiene items and school supplies. Providing this for students can make it infinitely easier for parents who are struggling financially to send their children to school.

Since OASIS is a nonprofit, it survives thanks to help from donors and volunteers. There are two public drop-off sites for donations, one at the New Tampa YMCA and the other at the South Tampa YMCA. Bloomingdale High School is a new drop site where students and staff can make contributions. Monetary donations are also welcome and can be made on the OASIS website.

OASIS is run largely on the efforts of volunteers; the organization only has two paid employees, and it is able to manage everything with assistance from the community. Help is needed to pick up and sort donations, launder clothes and to organize clothing drives. High school students will be able to receive Bright Futures hours for volunteering.

Furthering both quality of life and education for young people is a cause described as ‘invaluable’ by a social worker who was able to help students through this program. OASIS currently connects with 43 social workers through an order/delivery system and will soon expand to 220 social workers, allowing its services to change innumerable lives for the better.

For more information and an extended list of items that can be donated, visit oasis-network.org. Bloomingdale students and staff can reach out to Flossie Parsley for information about how to donate. OASIS Associate Director Dawn Schulman can be contacted about volunteer opportunities at dawn.schulman@oasis-network.org.