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Aug. 12, 2022

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Clark County fireworks ban extinguishes nonprofit fundraisers

Groups left with budget holes to fill as they cancel sales

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

A number of nonprofit organizations have started to feel the repercussions of the ban on fireworks in Clark County.

Around 20 groups are estimated to have canceled their fireworks-selling fundraising events, according to local fundraiser groups. This has left many organizations in need of support as they struggle to adapt to the ban and find new ways to fund their programs.

Corey McEnry, director of bands for Hockinson High School, explained that after careful consideration, the Hockinson High School music booster club couldn’t in “good faith” move forward with their plans to continue the annual fireworks fundraiser stand.

McEnry said that it wasn’t an easy decision to make. Typically, the fireworks stand raises up to $10,000 annually, and losing out on it left a big impact on the music program. To add to that, since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the music program at Hockinson lost around $80,000 in revenue due to cancellations of events and other fundraisers throughout the year.

The funds from previous years went toward the music program to help support equipment, uniforms and other miscellaneous things.

McEnry says he let people know on social media of the cancellation and asked for one request: to help support and give to the music program. Within 24 hours they’ve raised close to $5,000.

“We’re so humbled by the support, and it’s a testament to our community’s devotion towards the music program,” said McEnery.

Raymond Woodson Jr. from the Vancouver Pentecostals Church said the impact of the fireworks ban has been massive on local churches. Most churches live on a tight budget, and not having the support from the fireworks fundraisers has left them in need.

The funds from their stands go toward various projects, including youth ministries and summer camps. They also help aid people undergoing natural disasters around the world and support low-income students who wish to go to college. Those programs are now in danger because of low funding.

“We’re just going to hope for the best,” said Woodson.

Beau Leech hosts a fireworks stand, and Leech says they usually make around $250,000 with 10 percent of those proceeds going to the booster club that helps fund Boy Scouts troops, veterans affairs and Native American matters.

Leech then added that this cancellation is going to cause him to lose a quarter of a million dollars. As of now, they have no clear plan for what they’ll do to recover from the ban.

“This decision is going to crush our fundraising efforts,” said Leech.

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