Shelter Remains Open in Stanislas County

Story and photos by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

The Red Cross Shelter at the Lathrop Community Center located at 15557 5th Street in Lathrop, CA  95330 has closed.

The Red Cross shelter at the fairgrounds in Turlock. 

As a result of local flooding the Red Cross evacuation shelter remains open at the
Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, 1546 N. Soderquist Ave., Turlock, CA. Seventeen people stayed at the shelter overnight Friday.

Turlock Mayor Gary Seiseth(L) and Congressman Jeff Denham (C) stand with shelter manager Nancy Reeves at the shelter in Turlock, CA

Congressman Jeff Denham stopped by the shelter to talk with the displaced people. He also brought donations of clothing and shoes that was collected from the community. “We really appreciate the work that the Red Cross has done to help our people,” Congressman Denham said. “This has been a great partnership between the Red Cross, Stanislaus County and the city of Turlock.”

Shelter Manager Nancy Reeves has been at the shelter since the beginning and maintains a “tight ship” for the residents. “We’re here to help them through this ordeal,” Reeves said. “The people we have helped have been very appreciative.”

The Salvation Army has been providing meals at the shelter and Stanisclaus Community Services Agency has been at the shelter helping clients find local resources. Red Cross client case workers and Disaster Mental Health professionals have also been working with each shelter resident to help them determine their next steps.

Salvation Army volunteers Mark Ford(L), Jean Raven and Nick Patterson(R) prepare lunch at the Red Cross shelter in Turlock.

Water levels continue to rise as swollen area dams and and reservoirs release water causing rivers and streams to stay at high levels. The Red Cross will continue to maintain the shelter at Turlock as long as there are people displaced and in need.Shelter Manager Nancy Reeves has been at the shelter since the beginning and maintains a “tight ship” for the residents. “We’re here to help them through this ordeal,” Reeves said. “The people we have helped have been very appreciative.”

The Red Cross urges everyone to have an emergency evacuation kit, an evacuation plan and to stay informed about current conditions.

Evacuation kits may be purchased from the Red Cross at or you can create your own from items already in your home. A $10 donations may be made by texting CAFLOODS to 90999.  Larger donations may be made by going to or directly through your local Red Cross chapter.

Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
  • Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or have special needs
  • Chargers for any electronic devices you bring with you
  • Books, games and other ways to entertain your family and yourself


With more unsettled weather forecast, the Red Cross encourages people in affected areas to replenish emergency kits, have an evacuation plan, and stay informed. Obey all evacuation orders and do not enter flooded areas. When in doubt: Turn around, don’t drown! Preparedness, response, and recovery checklists for Winter Storm/Power Outages, Flood Safety, and more are available at, by clicking “Get Help” and “Types of Emergencies.”

We urge you to share these Red Cross preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.


 The EMERGENCY app features weather alerts, information on open Red Cross shelters, a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and a one-touch “I’m Safe” button that lets you use social media outlets to let family and friends know you are okay. The apps include a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting


In an emergency, letting your loved ones know you are safe can bring them great peace of mind. The Red Cross can help you stay in touch with loved ones after a disaster. All of the Red Cross mobile apps feature an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way.


At this time, the American Red Cross Gold Country Region is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our response to the flooding in our communities. We thank individuals and community groups who are willing to support this effort and encourage them to register to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses. Learn more and register online at and complete the online application.


All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.

Help people affected by disasters like flood and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit, or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

For more updates, follow the Sierra-Delta Chapter of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @RCSierraDelta or the Northeastern Chapter @RedCrossNECal.

Red Cross Shelter Status

Sacramento CA, February 24, 2017, Noon update – The Red Cross shelter at Los Molinos High School in Los Molinos, CA (Tehama County) closed at 5:00 pm Thursday,
February 23, 2017. While open the shelter served as a temporary home for 47 evacuees providing comfort and care along with 131 meals and 220 snacks.

A Red Cross caseworker meets with a family at the Silver Dollar Shelter earlier this week. Photo by Marko Kokic/American Red Cross

The Red Cross shelter at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, CA closed Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 3:00 pm.

Shelters remain open at the following locations:

  • Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, 1546 N. Soderquist Ave., Turlock, CA
  • Lathrop Community Center, 15557 5th Street, Lathrop, CA

While the flooding threat has diminished across northern California and few people remain at open shelters, the Red Cross urges everyone to stay ready for emergency evacuation. That readiness includes maintaining a 72 hour evacuation kit, an evacuation plan and staying informed about current conditions and evacuation notices. For more information about preparedness visit our preparedness website.

All Californians are urged to download the free mobile app, Emergency. The app is an all hazards information monitoring app that receives warning information from the National Weather Service and other emergency services. It also provides detailed preparedness and response information at your fingertips.

The decreasing flood threat will allow the Red Cross to decrease its “footprint” in terms of disaster response for the Oroville Dam Spillway response. Tracy McBroom is the Division Director for Disaster State Relation in Sacramento and continues to work closely with emergency management agencies. “Rest assured that the Red Cross will remain prepared to respond,” McBroom said. “We will remain in a heightened state of readiness through the Spring months.”

Volunteers unload supplies for evacuees at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico, CA. Photo by Marko Kokic/American Red Cross

The Red Cross responded quickly to the emergency declaration and evacuation warnings. That response is provided through Red Cross Disaster Relief. If you would like to support the Red Cross Disaster Relief you can donate a You can also send a $10 donation by texting the word CAFLOODS to 90999. Your donation will help the Red Cross continue to maintain a higher state of readiness in California.



A Keen Sense of Purpose for these Folsom Six

Story by Cindy Huge, American Red Cross Volunteer


“It gives us hope to be able to help the community.”

These were the unexpected words spoken from an unexpected source. Justine Aldana is that unexpected source and as she along with five other female offenders from Folsom Women’s Facility were unloading 10,000 box lunches to be used for disaster relief.

As the women were watching the news, they noticed another offender crying uncontrollably at the possibility that her family was among those evacuated. Justine and the other offenders felt like they had to do something to help. But their sense of helplessness was heightened due to their present incarceration. Luckily, their opportunity came last week when tasked with providing supplies to the Red Cross shelter at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

On Tuesday, the women were excited to help move 313 cases of boxed lunches out of cold storage, take inventory, and load them onto a large semi-truck. Their training and certification in food safety and handling as well as forklift driving made them well qualified for this job.

Helping their neighbors has given these women a keen sense of purpose. The meals will soon be distributed to eager shelter residents and workers.

“It makes me so happy to be able to help others and will continue to do so once I am able to volunteer for the American Red Cross,” said Justine at the end of the day, as her van pulled out of the parking lot and away from the shelter.

The success of the Red Cross mission is dependent on volunteers from all walks of life. Learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer. Visit

A Veteran Honors An Act of Kindess To The Red Cross

Story and Photos by Cindy Huge, American Red Cross

Dennis Lewis instruction new volunteer in the Basics of Sheltering class. DR202-17

When a call goes out for help, Dennis Lewis, an  American Red Cross volunteer, is always willing and ready to respond.

As a young marine stationed in Vietnam, Lewis received heartbreaking news that his mother had unexpectedly died. Desperately wanting to fly home for her funeral and not knowing how to accomplish this, he contacted the American Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces.  Their representative was able to contact Lewis’ commanding officer and made the necessary travel arrangements. This wonderful act of kindness was something that Lewis never forgot. He knew that some day he would like to become a volunteer and give back to the organization that helped him during  that difficult time.

“Lewis represents the heart of the Gold Country Region,” praised Jordan Scott, Social Engagement Strategist for the Red Cross. “If there is any opportunity to help, he answers that call, no matter what it is. You can always count on him.”

A 3 am call for help may go unanswered for some, but not to Lewis. He knows that call means there is someone in need- someone who has just experienced a devastating loss of a home due to fire or flood. At times, Lewis has driven over 2 1/2 hours to reach a person needing help on behalf of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team.

Volunteering has become a way of life for Lewis, one that has spanned nearly 10 years of service and has included several national deployments taking him hundreds of miles away from his home and family.

Dennis Lewis exemplifies just one of the many thousands of Red Cross volunteers who unselfishly give daily to those in need. If you would like to be apart of this humanitarian organization or find out more on how you can make a difference in the lives of others,  please visit

A New Partnership Benefits Hundreds Now, Thousands in the Future


ca2Story by Michele Maki, American Red Cross

Community partnerships are an important part of the success of any Red Cross mission in a disaster.  When Oroville and the surrounding communities were ordered to evacuate Sunday night, the American Red Cross had only hours to activate their emergency plans to feed and shelter potentially thousands of displaced people. Cal Expo at the California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento became an important community partner when the State of California ordered it to open for this emergency.

This year Cal Expo celebrates its 50th anniversary and was the brainchild of Governor Pat Brown. It was dedicated in 1968 by then-Governor Ronald Regan. It has been the showcase for car shows, thoroughbred and harness racing, and many programs highlighting California’s agriculture and wine industry. It had never been called on, however, to house potentially hundreds of evacuees from a disaster. The officials at Cal Expo and the Red Cross linked arms to make it happen. By Monday morning, only hours after evacuation orders were issued, supplies and staff were arriving and by noon the shelter was in full operation.

“We’ve never worked with the Red Cross before, and I have to say they were amazing,’’ complimented Margaret Mohr, Deputy General Manager for Cal Expo. “The disaster planning, preparedness and cooperation helped make this a successful operation. Cal Expo looks forward to a long and beneficial partnership with the Red Cross.”

High praise for Cal Expo was expressed by the Red Cross, too.

“Cal Expo has been a very helpful and accommodating host during this disaster.” said Red Cross Volunteer and Shelter Manager, Mike Jamie. “We’ve been assisted by their facilities management, event planning, law enforcement, and administrative services.  Because of this, the operation ran much more smoothly.”california-1a

The praises for both agencies don’t stop there.  The evacuated residents who benefited from this partnership gave kudos, too. “The staff was so warm and inviting. They kept everything so clean and organized. No one judged us and everyone was so respectful,” shared Jennifer Moss, an evacuee from the town of Linda. “We came here afraid and worried, and the folks here helped ease our fears.  I’d like to thank everyone at Cal Expo and the American Red Cross for all you’ve done for us.”

  It Takes a Partnership

Story and Photos by Michele Maki, American Red Cross

“It’s a blessing to help in a time of need. “  These heartfelt words were spoken by Ron Hughes, a volunteer with the Southern Baptist Convention- California Disaster Relief.  While visiting the Red Cross shelter at the California State Fairgrounds in Sacramento, his words were repeated by numerous fellow volunteers from the organization. “We are a small part of a bigger picture in disaster relief.” Ron continued.  “We know none of us can do it all. It takes cooperation and partnership to be successful.”

img_0683It’s Thursday, just four days into the relief operation at the shelter.  The volunteers from the Southern Baptist Convention are busy unloading supplies in preparation to cook and deliver 150 meals for the staff and residents at the shelter.  The coordinated teamwork between the two humanitarian agencies made it clear there was a mission to be accomplished and everyone was focused on its success.

“We’re all a part of the same team with the same goals.” one volunteer remarked. “There is no “me” in this.  It’s all about service to others……those in need.”

Mike Bevins, State Director for the Southern Baptist Convention agreed.  Bevins has a 20 year history with the organization and has high praise for his organization.  “They’re all volunteers. They pay their own way to serve others. I’m honored to be their servant leader.”  Bevins explains.3

There is high praise for the Southern Baptist Convention volunteers from the Red Cross too.  “They are fabulous! There is just no way we could be successful in our mission without their partnership. Today, we were able to feed a good hot meal to 150 hungry residents and staff at the shelter this afternoon, because of the Southern Baptist Convention. They are essential to our success.”

Semper Gumby! Always Flexible

Story and Photos by Michele Maki, American Red Cross

“Semper Gumby! That’s my motto.”  Tirtza Pearl, a Red Cross Volunteer from the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter currently deployed to the Oroville Spillway Incident, shares her philosophy and why working as a Red Cross Volunteer is so important to her life.

“I think my path to the Red Cross began back when I was living just outside of img_0707Anchorage and experienced the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake.  The Red Cross response was incredible.”  Later in life, Pearl experienced another series of disasters, the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 and the Oakland Hills Firestorm of 1991.  “I saw the good work of the Red Cross all those years, and I now wanted to be a part of it.”  Pearl showed up at her chapter office to help and was put to work answering phones. “I just kept coming back, day after day. I guess the staff had a lot of faith in me, because they then put me in charge of the switchboard.  That was my beginning with the Red Cross and I’ve never left. That was 26 years ago.”

Since then, Pearl has volunteered in a variety of capacities: sheltering, client casework, damage assessment, and more.  “I’ve done a little bit of everything and met lots of different people in the Red Cross.  Being flexible is the key.” Pearl explains. “When I deploy to a disaster operation, I may be asked to help with feeding or sheltering one day and client casework the next.  It’s all about the needs of those we are serving. They are in need and we are there to help.”

tirtza-pearl-1About three years ago, Pearl was on a deployment when someone put a sign over her desk that read:  Semper Gumby “I loved that-always flexible!  That fit my philosophy perfectly.”   Gumby was a popular flexible clay animation figure with a show of his own in the early 60’s and again in the 80’s on television.   “Gumby was always kind, agreeable and VERY flexible….literally.” Pearl explains.   “Semper means ‘always’.  So, ‘Semper Gumby’ is just perfect.  What a great motto for Red Crossers, especially for deployments, where remaining flexible is so important.”

Pearl truly lives that motto when volunteering too.  “I’m happy to do and be wherever I’m needed, and I take my Gumby (who now sports an official Red Cross pin!) with me. This is his 4th deployment.  He reminds me to stay cheerful and flexible and he’s a great icebreaker in meeting new volunteers and making new friends in the Red Cross.”  Pearl picks up her Gumby and continues, “He doesn’t say much, but his message is clear: stay flexible…….semper Gumby!”