Hauser Junior High students will be collecting canned goods for the Salvation Army for the 44th year, a longstanding tradition that has resulted in some of the nonprofit organization’s largest food drives in the area.
 
Instead of collecting items last fall in anticipation of Thanksgiving and winter, students are participating in a spring collection, at a time when much of the holiday donations have been consumed, said Hauser PTO President Carol Barlow.
 
“This year, the school wanted to continue it, but they wanted to focus more on teaching and learning, so the PTO took it on,” Barlow said. The spring time just worked well with volunteers, and “by the time spring comes around, people aren’t thinking of donating to food pantries. The food needs to be replenished.”
 
Students will kick off the drive with an assembly at school April 8. They are encouraged to reach out to neighbors and request donations they can be bring to the school, where they’re stored in a storage pod until the Salvation Army takes them on April 18.
 
Donations may also be dropped off at Riverside Foods, Riverside Parks and Recreation Department, Riverside Public Library and North Riverside Commons through April 17.
 
When the drive wraps up at Hauser (in the parking lot behind the school) April 18, the Salvation Army’s steel pan band will be on hand to help celebrate what organizers hope will be at collection of at least 75,000 items. Last year the Hauser community donated more than 70,000 cans of food, filling two 26-foot Salvation Army trucks.
 
Submitted by the Hauser Junior High PTO.