ROANOKE, Va. -

The American Red Cross in Roanoke has received a grant from UPS to purchase a robotic ERNIE THE ERV. 

Ernie is a miniature of the larger ERV. 

Ernie helps promote disaster preparedness to children in schools, churches, etc., through interactive teaching activities.  He even performs a march to get them ready!

The Red Cross also received a grant for the "Disney Pillowcase Project". 

This program started after Hurricane Katrina when the Red Cross staff noticed all the children were carrying their belongings in a pillowcase. 

The Roanoke Valley Chapter, Virginia Mountain Region is one of 54 Regions across the county to receive grant money to present this program in area schools, daycares, boys/girls scout, etc. on being prepared in times of disaster and knowing what to pack in their pillowcases. 

Each child receives a pillowcase they will decorate along with a Disaster Handbook. 

With Tornado season underway, the American Red Cross is also promoting its Tornado App. 

For more information on volunteering, programs, and services, click here.

To get Ernie the ERV in your classroom call (540) 985-3535.