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Organizations get big financial blast
Volunteer Larry Jones from The Place of Refuge church holds the Phantom fireworks best seller The Bazooka Torch at the fireworks stand at West Yosemite in front of Wendys benefitting the churchs Pulse Youth Group. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Whether the brand is TNT or Phantom, folks in the area have a choice when shopping for fireworks.

As in each case, they can take comfort in knowing that their dollars will go to a good cause.

“For us, proceeds (from fireworks sales) will help keep our registration cost down,” said Dave Rigney of the Ripon Sea Lions.

This year, the local swim group reported a large turnout of 230 youngsters. Family members are asked during signups to volunteer their time to the Fourth of July booth.

Along with keeping registration cost down, the Sea Lions also look to purchase equipment. Last year, for example, they were able to get a new Starter PA system.

The fireworks booth of the youth swim program can once again be found in the parking lot of the Tractor Supply Company at 860 Jack Tone Road. Rigney and others favor this long-time location based on traffic and familiarity.

“We get good exposure from being near the freeway and (busy) Jack Tone Road,” he said on Wednesday. “People also know where to find us.”

Since 2002, Rigney has handled the fireworks booth. At the time, his two children were active members of the Sea Lions and, over the years, he served as a board member and was a past president of this non-profit group.

His kids are all grown up but Rigney still makes time to help out with the cause.

In Manteca, members of the Place of Refuge Church are doing all they can to attract motorists to their fireworks booth in the Wendy’s parking lot at 1630 E. Yosemite Ave.

At the corner of Yosemite Avenue and the southbound Highway 99 off-ramp, they can be seen waving signs and banners while wearing outrageous outfits, including a gorilla and a banana costume.

“We won’t do the gorilla suit in the heat,” said youth group volunteer Mallory Albrecht, who noted that temperatures sizzled to triple digits earlier this week.

The hard work of the volunteers – close to 25, according to Kelli Lane, who is a second-year intern in the church’s leadership program – has been rewarded at times as motorists have actually stopped by the fireworks booth to help out with the cause.

In this case, proceeds will make possible free admission to those attending the Glory Fall Outpouring 2014 in September at the Place of Refuge, 486 Button Ave., Manteca. More information on this three-day conference is available at

“In the past, we’ve fed the homeless with the money made from fireworks,” Lane said.

Annie Carver, who, like Lane, is also an intern, got a hat compliment of an elderly woman.

“What pleasant surprise,” she said. “I left my hat home that day and (the woman) wanted me to have hers as protection from the sun.”

In Lathrop, the TNT fireworks booth in the Target parking lot at Golden Valley Parkway and Louise Avenue is operated by members of the Lathrop High Boosters Club.

The previous night, they benefitted from the aerial display at the new Generations Center.

“We had a rush of people at the last minute but we had to cut them off because we’re forced to close our booth at 10 p.m.,” said Dwayne Davis, who is the new girls’ varsity basketball coach at Lathrop High.

Proceeds from the fireworks sold here will be divvied up to support all of the LHS sports programs not to mention academic scholarships.

Those helping out at this familiar location of the past three years include coaches from various sports at the school.

“The kids (from LHS) will stop by with their parents,” Davis said. “For us, it’s a chance to finally meet some of them in a relaxed atmosphere.”

He used to work selling fireworks in Manteca during his days involved with one of the youth football program.

“There weren’t that many firework booths back then so we were able to bring in more money. Now, there are about 30 (booths) in the area – the market is saturated,” said Davis.

The non-profit groups are looking at today and the Fourth of July for that final push in sales for fireworks stock.

Many will go late into the evening or once their supply sells out.