My Pay It Forward adventure continued today as I met with Laura Steinmetz, Chief Communications Officer of the American Red Cross South Jersey Chapter. 

The American Red Cross brings hope and help to people every nine minutes. This is only possible thanks to volunteers, or as the American Red Cross calls them, "everyday heroes."

photo: Matt Ryan, Townsquare Media

I learned that The American Red Cross is not just about disaster aid and relief, but about education as well. Their Teen Youth Council will hold their annual Overnight Mock Shelter from March 27th at 4 p.m. through March 28th at 7:00 a.m. at the Jersey Coast Chapter at 1540 West Park Avenue in Tinton Falls. Teens research and train to open and provide shelter services utilizing their Red Cross training.

American Red Cross Jersey Coast Chapter Volunteers (photo: Matt Ryan, Townsquare Media)

The Red Cross Pillowcase Project is truly unique. The New Orleans chapter originally developed the project after Hurricane Katrina. The program is currently sponsored by Disney.

The Pillowcase Project is a preparedness education program for children in grades 3 – 5, which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards, and basic coping skills. Generally given as a 60 minute presentation by Red Cross volunteers, the program leads students through a “learn, practice, share” framework to engage them in disaster preparedness. Students receive a sturdy pillowcase upon completion of the program in which they are encouraged to build their personal emergency supplies kit. Presentations are customized to focus on a hazard that is important and relevant to the local community.

I'm looking forward to working with the Jersey Coast Chapter of the Red Cross on these and other community services and events.

95% of The American Red Cross is run by volunteers. If you are interested in being a part of the Red Cross, go to and click "How to Volunteer." You can also call 732-493-9100 and ask for Volunteer Services.

Make a $10 donation to the Red Cross by texting "REDCROSS" to 9-0-9-9-9.

Thanks to Laura and the incredible team at the American Red Cross Jersey Coast Chapter!