Hauser Junior High School in Riverside is in the midst of its annual food drive, which will culminate on Saturday, March 2 when students, parents, faculty and community members will gather for the drive’s second Feed Our Community Day.

The food drive, organized by the Hauser PTO is in its 49th year at the school. For most of its life, the food drive was a holiday season event, which culminated just prior to Christmas with all of the food collected displayed on the stage of the auditorium.

Since the PTO took over the food drive, it has been more of a springtime event, with the food-packing Feed Our Community Day event new in 2018. 

Lisa Gaynor, one of the organizers of the food drive said the decision was made to move the food drive up this year, so it could be held continuously over a month without spring break or the Easter holidays interrupting the momentum.

“It all lined up right for February this year,” Gaynor said in an email. “So, the drive kicked off Feb. 1 and will end Saturday, March 2.”

The goal is to collect 20,000 cans or packages of non-perishable food, which will be donated to both the Salvation Army Red Shield Center Food Pantry in the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago and to the Riverside Township Food Pantry.

In addition, the Hauser PTO hopes volunteers will pack 50,000 meals for the hungry. To reach that goal, the PTO has to raise $12,500 to cover the cost of the food. Anyone wishing to make a cash donation can do so online at

Anyone wishing to volunteer to pack food on March 2 at any time between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria, click the link “Food Packer for Feed Our Community Day,” which is in the right-hand rail on the Hauser website home page (

Community members can also drop off donations of non-perishable foods at the following locations: the Hauser Junior High office, 65 Woodside Road; Riverside Public Library, 1 Burling Road; Riverside Foods, 48 E. Burlington St.; Riverside Bank, 17 E. Burlington St.; North Riverside Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave.; or the North Riverside Public Library, 2400 Desplaines Ave.