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Red Cross closes shelter at Stanislaus County Fairgrounds
red cross shelter
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the Turf Club, located at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, on Feb. 17 and it closed down on Monday. - photo by Journal file photo

The Turlock Turf Club is known as the place to go around the region for horse racing entertainment, but for the past 10 days the Turf Club was also a place of refuge for those fleeing recent flooding.

The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the Turf Club, located at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds, on Feb. 17 and it closed down on Monday. As of Monday, there were no other Red Cross shelters open in the Red Cross Gold Country Region, which includes all of Northern California.

During the 10 days it was open the shelter served an average of 25 people per day, said Red Cross Communications Specialist Bill Fortune.

“We worked to make them comfortable, give them a good meal and help them find client resources,” said Turlock Shelter Manager Nancy Reeves.

Reeves was at the shelter since the beginning and has been a Stanislaus County Red Cross volunteer since 2011. She recently served at disaster shelters during the Butte and Boles fires.

The Turlock shelter provided temporary housing, food, medical and social services, along with a safe place to regroup for many who had to leave their homes due to flooding from recent storms and rising rivers.

At least a dozen Red Cross volunteers staffed the shelter, which originally opened on Feb. 10 in Patterson and then moved to the Turf Club on Feb. 17. Volunteers staffing the shelter were not only from the county, but also around the country. On Monday, Red Cross volunteers from Massachusetts, Illinois and Indiana were at the shelter to help close things down.

Many local agencies also partnered with the Red Cross to help those affected by the flooding.

“Stanislaus County sent over case workers to see what the county could do to get them back home again…they’ve been a wonderful partner and great helping their citizens,” said Red Cross Gold Country Region Public Information Officer Heath Wakelee.

The Salvation Army helped out by providing lunch and dinner each day for those at the shelter.

Congressman Jeff Denham stopped by the shelter to talk with the displaced people, according to a story in the Red Cross’ Gold Country Newsletter. 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,” Denham said. “This has been a great partnership between the Red Cross, Stanislaus County and the City of Turlock.”

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, and is made possible by donations and volunteers.

Wakelee said Northern California is known for its volunteers.

“We send volunteers from Northern California out to many other areas,” he said.  “We ended up training 3,500 volunteers to help out for Hurricane Katrina.

“We need volunteers to come in and get training before a disaster hits, so they are ready to go to help when needed,” he continued.

For more information about becoming a volunteer, visit To donate to local Red Cross flood relief efforts, text CALFLOOD to 90999 for an automatic $10 donation.