The city of Tracy has selected 10 nonprofits for the opportunity to apply for a permit to sell safe and sane fireworks for the Fourth of July at a virtual lottery Tuesday afternoon.
Assistant city manager Midori Lichtwardt led the lottery as Vanessa Carrera from the city manager’s office drew the numbers. The event was held virtually because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“In the past if you participated, you know that we’ve all gathered here in the chambers and we enjoyed the live excitement of the fireworks lottery. While the actual lottery process this year is going to be a little bit different the rest of the process will remain the same for those of you who have participated in the past and we hope to be able to see you in here next year for the 2022 lottery,” Lichtwardt said.
The application period to apply for the lottery opened in November and closed in December with 51 local nonprofits qualifying to enter Tuesday’s lottery.
Safe and sane pyrotechnics have been allowed in the city since 2011 when the city council passed an ordinance amending Chapter 3.04 of the Tracy Municipal Code. The change allows one fireworks sales permit for every 10,000 residents, so the city authorized 10 permits for this year.
Three alternates were selected in case any of the 10 nonprofits are not able to complete the permitting process.
Among the organizations selected was the Kimball High Music Boosters, who were selected after their third time entering the lottery. Loretta Espinoza, treasurer of the boosters group, said the group has supported the school’s music programs, including about 90 students in this year’s band and choir programs, for about nine years. COVID-19 restrictions put a halt to most of the group’s fundraising efforts over the past year.
“We’re happy for the opportunity to be able to support the music program further. We’ve done one fundraiser — we did the ‘SNAP! Raise’, where it’s an online fundraising — but other than that we haven’t done anything, and we usually have had three or four by this time,” Espinoza said.
Past fundraisers have also included chocolate sales, a breakfast at Applebee’s and a candle sale.
“It’s a good money-maker for fundraising and I know it will help our incoming students. Hopefully life will get back to somewhat normal and we can get them back to going to festivals and getting some uniforms for them, and that’s our major goal,” Espinoza said.
The boosters also provide one scholarship for a graduating senior in the band program and one in the choir program.
She was thankful the safe and sane fireworks sales will continue for the nonprofits in Tracy.
“It’s a huge help to be able to do this one, single event rather than have to do multiple, smaller ones. I know it’s a lot of work but in the end these funds are going to go back to our students and the music director and kind of help grow our program,” Espinoza said. “And that’s what it’s all about, the kids, giving them the best experience while they are in high school and giving them a good foundation moving forward.”
Pat Pacheco, senior pastor at City on a Hill Mission Church on West Mount Diablo Avenue said they were blessed to have selected for the second year in a row in the fireworks lottery.
“We were fortunate to be selected last year so we do a lot of community work so a lot of our fundraising we do goes towards groceries and stuff we purchase for the community for our outreach program,” Pacheco said. “Because of the pandemic we were limited on the fundraising, last year’s fundraising really helped us out. Because we were running low and we had the fundraising money that we could utilize.”
Pacheco said the church rents a building from another church and continues to pay rent, even though the congregation is not able to gather there because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“All that kind of helps out that we had a safety net,” Pacheco said, adding that fundraising has been very difficult this past year.
“It’s almost impossible because normally, whatever we try meant getting into contact with people,” Pacheco said.
Funds the church generates from fireworks sales will allow them to continue outreach programs, including buying groceries and hygiene kits for the homeless community.
“That’s what’s going to help us continue, this next big fundraiser, and even be able to do it to a greater extent,” Pacheco said.
The fireworks lottery was postponed two weeks so the city council could discuss a possible ban on safe and sane fireworks. The council voted unanimously at the Jan. 19 meeting to continue to allow the sale and discharge of safe and sane fireworks.
• Contact Glenn Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 830-4252.