For Manteca non-profits, the lottery to win is the one that is conducted every January in the City Council chambers for a permit to sell fireworks starting a week before the Fourth of July.
The reason is simple. Since the advent of legal firework sales in 2005, nonprofits have raised in excess of $1.5 million. For many organizations who are lucky enough to have their number drawn it can be their biggest fundraiser of the year.
This year the permit winners are Agape Villages Foster Family Agency, Anderson’s 209 BMX, Doctors Hospital of Manteca Auxiliary, Calvary Community Church, Freedom Christian Center, His Way Recovery House, Iglesia El Shaddai Ministrios Shalom, Jimmie Connors Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6311, Journey Church, Manteca-Sierra FFA, Manteca Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police Unit, Sequoia Heights Baptist Church, and St. Anthony’s Council 10693.
The Manteca Police Officers Association is reserved a booth every year that is typically set up at Union Road and Yosemite Avenue. The MPOA booth generates funds to help pay for the aerial fireworks.
There were 24 applicants this year. Rules forbid organizations entered in the lottery from having a fireworks booth for more than two consecutive years. They can participate in lotteries after a year’s break.
Depending upon the location and marketing, organizations typically generate between $2,500 and $40,000 for the week-long effort. In the first several years’ fireworks booths were allowed in Manteca, they performed significantly better. That’s because Manteca was the first city in the region to allow fireworks sales.
If a city allows the sale of safe and sane fireworks that are restricted to non-profits in California, under state law that have to allow the discharge of legal fireworks from the initial time sales are allowed until midnight on July 4. Given Manteca allows fireworks sales for seven days that means the discharge of safe and sane fireworks are allowed for seven days as well.
The posting of the fireworks lottery winners on the city’s Facebook drew criticism because 8 of the 14 applicants whose numbers were drawn were churches or faith-based organizations as was the case with 11 of the 24 organizations seeking permission to sell fireworks.
The churches typically use the money they raise to help fund food closets they operate out of their churches, to help support HOPE Ministries that shelters homeless families, assist with the payment of expenses for substance abuse recovery programs and for mission-style work.
The city from the first year has capped permits to make it possible for organizations to have a decent chance at having a successful effort. Originally the city capped it at one booth per 5,000 residents.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org