BROADWAY — The local chapter of the Red Cross and WISE & Healthy Aging are teaming up with local merchants and residents to provide emergency disaster kits to homebound and low-income seniors.

People are encouraged to donate items to fill the disaster kits.

“With a major earthquake poised to strike Southern California in the years to come, the elderly are particularly at risk,” said AmeriCorps’ Elizabeth Adams, who is spearheading the project for the American Red Cross of Santa Monica as a volunteer. “These emergency kits, coupled with a disaster plan, will serve as the foundation for disaster readiness.”

People can donate items for the disaster kits by placing them in specially designated red bins at three Santa Monica locations: Bob’s Market at 1650 Ocean Park Blvd., Red Cross of Santa Monica at 1450 11th St. and WISE & Healthy Aging at 1527 Fourth St.

Items to be donated for the emergency kits could include flashlights, AA batteries, D batteries, personal hygiene items, duct tape, whistle, playing cards, first aid kits, battery-powered radios, work gloves and back packs. The goal is to assemble 200 kits, initially.

“Seniors are some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Adams said. “By providing them with the emergency kits, it will help us all in the event that a disaster strikes.”

The emergency kits will provide many at-risk seniors with the basics to start their own readiness plans and survive an earthquake or similar devastating occurrence, Adams said.

Donated items will be received through mid-February, 2010. Plans call for the emergency kits to be assembled and distributed in late February. The Red Cross will add additional locations to receive donated items over the next few weeks.

For additional information on senior preparedness information contact Adams at (424) 203-1115. For information on how you can best prepare for emergencies, contact the Red Cross of Santa Monica at www.redcrosssofsantamonica.org or call (310) 394-3773 during business hours.