The Hauser Junior High PTO is hoping to “Pack the POD” with food for the needy during a special event on Saturday, April 18, in the rear parking lot of the school, 65 Woodside Road, from 9 a.m. to noon.

For the past 44 years, the students at Hauser Junior High School in Riverside have fanned out in Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside to collect as many canned food items as possible as part of their annual food drive to benefit the Salvation Army.

Traditionally, the food drive was held around the winter holidays and has resulted in the collection of up to 80,000 cans or boxes of food each year.

For the 2014-15 school year, however, the food drive was moved to the spring. It began April 8 and was slated to end April 18. But with the change in time for the drive, according to Hauser PTO President Carol Barlow, donations are down a bit. As a result, the school will continue collecting food through Wednesday, April 22.

People are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items during Pack the POD. For every 10 cans someone donates, that person’s name will be entered into a raffle for a gift certificate from Aunt Diana’s, Riverside Foods or Red Mango in LaGrange.

The Salvation Army’s steel pan band will be on hand, playing throughout the morning, and students will spell out the word “Hauser” with donated food items. Then at 11 a.m. the fire department will come by with a ladder truck to take an aerial photograph of the display and students who show up.

Anyone unable to make it to the April 18 event can donate items through April 22 at the following locations: Riverside Foods, 48 E. Burlington St, Riverside; the North Riverside Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave., North Riverside; and the Riverside Parks and Recreation Department, 10 Pine Ave. (in the water tower), Riverside.

Monetary donations will also be accepted at the POD event.

For more information contact Carol Barlow at 708-218-7493.