For the past five years Bryant Elementary School has spent a week caring about the less fortunate - literally.
The school's annual Week of Caring event involves students, parents and the community donating items including food, clothing and toys to help those less fortunate.
This year the event happened Nov. 13-16. Each day the school focused on donating a different item. Toiletries, used uniforms, food and toys were collected Tuesday-Friday respectively.
"We feel we are very blessed in this area of Westchase and so it gives our kids a chance to give to others in the community and share what we have with them," said Courtney Peterson, president of the Bryant PTA. "It gives them a sense of caring and giving to others in the community."
A walk through Bryant Elementary School on a recent day revealed boxes of nonperishable food, clothing and other items to be donated.
Food collected will go to Kaye Prox Food Bank. The uniforms will benefit students at Sulfur Springs Elementary and the toys will be donated to Metropolitan Ministries.
The Tampa-based nonprofit Outreach Assisting Students in Schools will receive the clothing donated by Bryant. The mission of OASIS is to provide basic necessities to needy students in Hillsborough County schools including gently used clothing, hygiene items, socks and underwear.
The organization serves 11,000 students a year, said Ginger Bean, OASIS executive director.
"There are a lot of students in need in our school district," Bean said. "By Bryant collecting items for OASIS, it helps out the kids in the other schools who don't have the same benefits as those at Bryant. So it all stays in the school district, which we love."
Items are distributed to students by school social workers who have identified kids who are in need. OASIS stores their clothing and hygiene item donations at three collection sites across the county.
OASIS drops off bins at the location in this case Bryant and then comes and picks them up once they've been filled with donations.
This is the fifth year OASIS and Bryant have teamed up to do the Week of Caring.
"It's really wonderful to be able to rely on something done annually" Bean said.
Peterson said the event has created a sense of caring throughout the school.
"We are so grateful for the generous support of our Bryant family," Peterson said.
To learn more about OASIS, visit it online.
To learn more about Mary Bryant Elementary's Week of Caring, visit the PTA's website.