Non-profit booths have trouble securing fireworks to sell this year

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Kenzie Phye (left) and Madi Sullivan (right) arrange fireworks products for sale at the Youth Core Ministries booth in Greensburg.

Fireworks sales at the Youth Core Ministries booth in Greensburg may have been a little less than usual this year, but it wasn't for lack of trying to get them ordered.

"We started contacting our usual supplier during the first part of the year but were told they were just not available yet," said Youth Core Ministries Director Kyle Nauman. "We finally got three pallets ordered about four weeks ago, but then they only showed up with three, and we were told there would not be the option of going back to get more."

It seems other fund-raising groups were shorted on fireworks as well, with problems securing fireworks for resale reported statewide. In Newton, a group called Friends of the Harvey County ERT was also shorted on explosives, right at a time they needed it most for a non-profit fundraising event to support a local family.

"It is scary because we have been in the same location for eight years and forged great partnerships," said Brandon Huntley, for the ERT in a Newton Kansan report. "We have probably lost a third of what we normally order because it is not available. It is either hung up in shipping issues or logistics. "...The shortage is not a hoax. It is a true thing. Everybody is facing that."

Ironically, large groups putting on community fireworks shows did not seem to face the same problems of shipping issues or restricted availability. In Pratt County the American Legion was able to secure the same amount of fireworks, or even more than ever for their annual show at the Pratt County Veteran's Memorial Lake. Just to south in Barber County, Dale Withers and company put on as grand as ever a fireworks show, much to the delight of viewers at Elm Mills.

"Fireworks sales have always been our biggest fundraiser," Nauman said. "This is what we depend on to be able to send our local kids to a Christian camp every summer. Last year was a record-breaking year for us, but it seems as if COVID-19 has shut down the supply chain for us somehow and this year we are going to struggle to sell enough to make a profit."

Nauman said that area kids from Kiowa County and Pratt County work at the Greensburg fireworks tent each year, with four shifts of four kids taking turns on duty from June 30 to July 4.

"We have always been able to pay them $25 per shift, per camper, which goes directly into their camp saving funds," Nauman said. "We will likely run out of fireworks and money this year."

Those wishing to support camp fund for kids may find information about making donations at youthcoreministries.org.

Laikynn Nauman and Isaac Sullivan (back) wait for customers at the Youth Core Ministries booth the first day of fireworks sales in Greensburg. Fireworks product was light and there were to be no refills this year.