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14 non-profits snag firework sales lottery
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Christmas came early for 14 non-profit Manteca organizations when they won the Fourth of July fireworks lottery.

The legal sale of safe and sane fireworks during the past six years has generated well over $900,000 in revenue for non-profits after all expenses are met. Generally the two major fireworks vendors split the sale on each fireworks items sold 50-50 with local groups but expenses such as insurance, booth rental and space rental come out of the non-profit organizations’ share.

As a result, the 14 organizations last year had results that ran the gamut from breaking even to netting over $18,000 over seven days. The big difference in almost every case is location.

The names of organizations that were drawn in the lottery this week for the right to sell fireworks were SONdance Ministries, Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau, Love INC., Manteca Youth Focus, Manteca Historical Society, Anderson’s 209 BMX Race Team, South County Crisis Center, Tidewater Southern Railway Historical Society, Manteca Moose Lodge, His Way Recovery House, Place of Refuge, Liberty Baptist Church, Crossroads Grace Community Church, and Agape Villages Foster Family Agency. The two alternatives are the Robbie Taberna FFA Memorial Scholarship Committee as well as St. Anthony’s Knights of Columbus Council 10693.

The 14 fireworks booths collectively gross almost $500,000 a year in Manteca. The booth operated by the Manteca Police Officers Association – which is exempted from the lottery – generates funds to help offset part of the cost of the free aerial fireworks the city conducts at Big League Dreams on the Fourth of July.

Six years ago when Manteca lifted the ban on fireworks sales, Ripon was the only San Joaquin County jurisdiction that allowed them. Now other cities including Lathrop and Stockton have allowed the fireworks sales on the strength of how they benefit non-profits that provide services to the community.

The lifting of the fireworks ban in Manteca was first advocated by Councilman Vince Hernandez in 2003.