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Manteca gets big bang from police groups fireworks stand sales
Volunteer Micah Gaines gets ready to open another case of fireworks to be sold at the fireworks stand on Louise Avenue. Additional photo on page 1.

Manteca Police Sergeant Jodie Estarziau was happy to see business steadily moving Monday afternoon at the Manteca Police Officers Association fireworks booth on the corner of Yosemite Avenue and Union Road.

'Along with help from the Manteca Police Employees Association and several City of Manteca employees, the booth – now in its fourth year of operation – helps to fund the community-wide fireworks show with a donation of 40 percent of their overall profit to the cause.

And it isn’t uncommon, Estarziau said, to see the same customers as last year coming back through to stock up on smoke bombs and sparklers for their annual family celebration.

“We’re in our fourth year right now, and you see a lot of the same people coming back every year – that shows the community really supports these organizations,” she said. “I think it’s a huge asset for the community as a whole and the groups that are able to raise money by doing this.”
Currently there are 14 non-profit groups that are actively selling fireworks in Manteca – having for the first time to take out a $350 permit designed to offset the cost of fire department inspections of each and every site.   

Since the City Council approved the use of safe-and-sane fireworks five years ago more than $600,000 has been raised by the groups that are selected by a lottery system.

A council vote in April will allow for the sale to continue through 2014.

While the aerial fireworks display – which has at times not been held in the past because of a lack of funding – is one of their major supporters, the booth donates the remaining 60 percent to a handful of local charities ranging from the Second Harvest Food Bank to a Community Christmas program that ensures less fortunate children still have something under the tree.

Other groups receiving donations included both the diabetes and cancer research centers, and scholarships for each Manteca high school as well as the drunk-driving education program Q15, and the HOPE Family Shelter.

“With the support of the community we’re able to do a lot,” Estarziau said. “People in town have been great, and we’re just glad to have that kind of support.

To contact Jason Campbell e-mail”, or call (209) 249-3544.