WASHINGTON — As part of National Preparedness Month this September, The American Red Cross and Disney renewed their commitment to help teach disaster preparedness to children and families through the Pillowcase Project initiative. The Pillowcase Project will expand across the country while continuing to support in-school and after-school curriculum to help 3rd to 5th grade students learn how to prepare for and cope with emergencies. Disney Friends for Change – a global initiative that inspires kids and families to take action and make a difference in their communities – will also highlight an emergency preparedness interstitial from Disney Junior’s Peabody Award-winning series “Doc McStuffins.” Airing all month-long on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, the spot features Doc and her friends, Hallie, Lambie, Chilly, and Stuffy, modeling the basics of emergency preparedness – Learn, Practice, Share, Be Prepared – to impart simple ways preschoolers and their families can be prepared.
“Children are often more vulnerable to disaster, and there is nothing more compelling than a child sharing preparedness lessons with his or her family,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “That’s why it is so important that we teach children to prepare for emergencies through The Pillowcase Project. We are very grateful to Disney for their support in helping to educate young students about the importance of emergency preparedness in a fun, but relevant way.”
The Pillowcase Project teaches students about personal and family preparedness including how to create emergency kits by packing essential items into a pillowcase for easy transport during an emergency and how to develop a family emergency communications plan. They practice what they have learned and then share their knowledge with friends and family.
“While we were in the Red Cross shelter, my daughter was quoting things she learned yesterday,” one mother said about The Pillowcase Project when tornadoes touched down once again in Oklahoma. “She was calm, a big difference from last year. What you do makes a difference. Thank you.”
Prior to an outbreak of severe weather this past spring, the Red Cross visited several schools in the Moore, Oklahoma area, a community devastated by tornadoes in 2013, to teach students about preparedness through The Pillowcase Project. Despite the wrath of the storm, this time, the children knew what to do.
“Thank you so much for coming to Winding Creek Elementary in Moore and preparing our students for emergencies,” said Paula Gifford, an elementary school principal in Moore, Oklahoma. “We are heartbroken again for our community and can't thank you enough for helping our kiddos! I'm hearing wonderful stories about how our students stayed calm and followed the procedures they learned from Jennifer this week at school. I appreciate you so much! Moore kids were prepared with their pillow cases provided by you all!”
Disney has also funded the Monster Guard mobile app for youth. The app compliments The Pillowcase Project, providing a game where children role-play as various monster characters and engage in interactive training episodes for hazards such as home fires, floods and hurricanes. The free app is available for download at www.redcross.org/monsterguard.
In addition, Disney supports Red Cross disaster relief operations by contributing hundreds of hours of volunteer service through the Disney VoluntEARS program and donating Mickey Mouse plush dolls to comfort children in the aftermath of disasters.
Disney has contributed to the creation and expansion of The Pillowcase Project through a total investment of $3 million since 2012, and as a member of the Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP), Disney helps ensure the Red Cross is able to respond immediately after disasters at home and around the world.