By V. Squires, American Red Cross Volunteer

September is National Preparedness Month. It’s the perfect time for kids to learn how to stay safe when an emergency strikes, to practice what they learn and to share their knowledge with family members and friends.

The American Red Cross has a variety of preparedness programs, including some specifically geared towards young children, like the Pillowcase Project. This interactive presentation aims to educate and empower 9-11-year-olds to stay calm and take action in the event of an emergency.

The Pillowcase Project was created by the Louisiana Chapter of the Red Cross following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The program gets its name because during Katrina more than a million people were displaced and many children used pillowcases to carry their belongings as they evacuated their homes. In 2013, the Walt Disney Company partnered with the Red Cross to fund the expansion of the program to be used by Red Cross chapters across the United States.

In the Northwest Region, 976 kids attended a Pillowcase Project presentation in 2021. The majority of presentations take place in elementary schools where trained Red Cross volunteers teach students how to prepare for and stay calm when the smoke alarm sounds: BEEP, BEEP, BEEP! Students participate in a variety of hands-on activities and take home a workbook to share with their family and their very own personalized pillowcase.

Invite the Pillowcase Project to your community to be better prepared today! All materials and supplies are provided free of charge thanks to the generosity of donors. Registration for an in-person presentation is now open. To request a presentation or to learn more about volunteering as a Red Cross instructor, contact the Northwest Region preparedness team at

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