COURTESY OF KIM GRIMSHAW BOLTON
 
(RIVERSIDE)-According to Feeding America, one in six individuals in Cook County is “food insecure,” not sure when they will have their next meal. Once again, this year, Riverside’s Hauser Junior High is working to feed its neighbors through its 43rd Annual Holiday Food Drive. Proceeds will benefit the Salvation Army in Chicago Englewood community and the Riverside Food Pantry, located in Township Hall, at 27 Riverside Rd.
 
According to Principal Leslie Berman, “The Salvation Army has specifically requested the following: protein products such as peanut butter and canned tuna, cereal and oatmeal, canned vegetables, and drink boxes.”
 
Hauser has been the top can collector for the Salvation Army in Illinois for more than 40 years. Last year, the Food Drive collected 45,000. The all-time high was 80,000 cans collected in 2010. Hauser has been filling the shelves at the Riverside Food Pantry since 2011.
 
Local communities – particularly Riverside, North Riverside, Brookfield and Lyons — are invited to support Hauser’s annual Food Drive. Residents can donate food or cash (checks payable to Riverside Public Schools or online through the PTO), which will be used to purchase pallets of food from Ultra Foods in Lombard.
 
From now until Dec. 18, donations are accepted Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, from 7:45-8:45 a.m., at the school, and on Sunday evenings from 7-8 p.m. This year, for the first time, Hauser PTO is accepting online donations at www.hauserpto.org.
 
Students who bring in 200 food items or a cash equivalent will be able to set up the display in the Hauser Auditorium – a truly awesome site to behold – on Thursday, Dec. 19. That evening, from 7 – 8:30 p.m., Hauser, located at 65 Woodside Rd., will open its doors to the public to see the display, and welcome a visit from Santa at 7:00 p.m.
 
“Our annual food drive helps our local Riverside Food Pantry and the Salvation Army to feed people in need for the holiday season and throughout the winter months,” said Berman. “They’re really counting on us.”