CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – First Lady Melania Trump and Second Lady Karen Pence will make their way to the Lowcountry on Wednesday.
Their first stop will be a Lambs Elementary. That’s where the two will work with the Red Cross to teach students how to prepare for an emergency through the Pillowcase Project.
It’s an emergency preparedness program that aims to create awareness about emergency planning and teach students how to stay safe.
The project started back in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Students at Loyola University stuffed their belongings in pillowcases when they were forced to evacuate their dorms.
Following Hurricane Katrina, the American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter decided to turn these efforts into a program for New Orleans schools. Its success has grown to several other Red Cross chapters across the United States.
“We really want to stress with kids this age that they can be a part of the plans. That they need to practice. They see their parents may be talking about, maybe practicing it as well but they need to be a part of this,” Director of Communications for the American Red Cross, Palmetto South Carolina Region, Ben Williamson said. “They need to be a part of planning out, so this is trying to get them interacting with that… Thinking about that.”
The goal is for kids to go home and share what they’ve learned with their parents to make sure they’re also prepared. Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence will work with kids on Wednesday to ensure that they know how to stay safe in the event of any emergency.
“We want to prepare them, to understand you know, obviously the pillowcase is what they’re going to put items in that they need if they’re either forced to evacuate or if there’s a home fire. Gathering those items. Having that ready to go,” Williams said. “So they learn about the hazards, they learn about how to deal with that and what to expect.”
Following Wednesday’s visit to Lambs Elementary, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence will return to Joint Base Charleston. They’ll meet with service members to thank them for their work here in the Lowcountry. The women will also be briefed on the base’s capabilities in disaster response, relief, and recovery efforts.
At Joint Base Charleston, Mrs. Trump and Mrs. Pence will receive a briefing from five major emergency response teams at the base: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 841st Transportation Battalion, the US Coast Guard, 437th and 315th Airlift Wings and the 628th Emergency Operations Center at Joint Base Charleston, according to the press release.