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Red Cross Helps Colorado Children Prepare for Emergencies

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In the last 10 years, the Pillowcase Project has helped countless children plan for their futures.

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, affecting millions of people. Many children were traumatized by their memories of the storm’s fury, so the American Red Cross developed a program using something as simple as a pillowcase to help these children feel safer and more prepared for a disaster.

Through the Red Cross Pillowcase Project, children learn how to create their own emergency supply kit by packing essential items in a pillowcase which is easy to carry in an emergency. They can decorate and personalize their pillowcase and each child receives a “My Preparedness Workbook” and a certificate of completion at the end of their training.

The World’s Largest Pillowcase Project will be held on August 29, the ten-year anniversary of Katrina. Red Cross chapters across the country will hold Pillowcase Project events – including multiple events in Colorado -- to help children and their families learn the importance of being prepared for emergencies. The Colorado Pillowcase Project events include trainings for:

  • A girl scout troupe in Pueblo
  • A group of a dozen home-schooled children in Grand Junction
  • Students at an early education center in Sterling
  • Elementary students and their parents (open to the public) in Pueblo West. 

“In the last ten years, the Pillowcase Project has helped countless children better plan for their future,” said George Sullivan, Director of Community Preparedness and Resilience for the Red Cross in Colorado and Wyoming. “It all started with a pillowcase and an idea to help children in New Orleans and has spread to hundreds of communities across the country.”

Through the Pillowcase Project, children in grades three through five learn how weather hazards occur, how to get ready for and to cope with emergencies. They also learn how to develop a way to contact household members in an emergency situation, how to develop fire escape plans and emergency contact cards and how important it is to share what they learn with members of their household so everyone can be prepared.

Today the Red Cross Pillowcase Project is available free to teach young children about natural hazards and how they can prepare for disasters.  For more information on the Pillowcase Project, visit