Red Cross Offers Program To Help Children Cope With Severe Weather

Thursday, October 22nd 2015, 6:42 pm
By: News 9

Bridge Creek children who lost their homes in a big tornado earlier this year are got a lesson in coping with fear. The Red Cross took its “Pillowcase Project” to Bridge Creek Elementary on Thursday, where many of the students are still living in temporary housing after the May storm.

Under the Red Cross's Pillowcase Project students receive a pillowcase full of storm preparedness items like flashlights and thermal blankets.

“We talk about going on a scavenger hunt in their homes to try to find some of the other stuff to put in their pillowcase and giving them that responsibility of ‘I'm in control of this,’” said Taylor Smith with the American Red Cross of Oklahoma.

The students also learn coping skills. After the May 6 tornado, the kids have a lot of anxiety about severe storms.

“Kinda scared about it,” said fifth grade student Randy Nix. ”That it's going to hit my house and that we are going to have to do this all over again.”

Fifty students lost their homes.

“Because one hit my house and then you have to live somewhere else and then it's scary,” said fifth grade student Bo McKinney,

The fear still grips them.

“Scared,” said fifth grade student Meredith Hill.  “That it’s going to wreck out house again.”

Giving the kids the task of gathering up their pillowcase the next time severe weather rolls in will help them emotionally. The idea is already having a calming effect on the kids.

“It would just make me feel safer with those things,” Nix told News 9.

The Red Cross developed the Pillowcase Project right after Hurricane Katrina to help kids cope with emergencies. The Pillowcase Project is for third through fifth grade.

Learn more about how you can bring the Pillowcase Project to your school.