In partnership with TNT Fireworks, of Florence, Ala., three tents spread across Bartow County have emerged to sell fireworks for the week leading up to the Fourth of July weekend and through Sunday.
Nonprofit organizations take part each year in a fundraising retail operation selling fireworks for TNT Fireworks. Volunteers man the tents from which a portion of the proceeds are donated to the organization.
Tents are set up in parking lots of busy commercial locations. TNT sites in Bartow include the Cartersville Walmart at 101 Market Place Blvd., the Ingles supermarket at 825 West Ave. in Cartersville and the vacant lot adjoining Northside Bank at 7741 Adairsville Highway in Adairsville.
Organizations benefiting from the sales of fireworks include two churches and an awareness campaign aimed at reaching youth battling with self-harm and self-hate addictions.
Love Loud Awareness, operating the Walmart site, is a nonprofit organization based in Cartersville that has toured the country raising awareness and offering help to those in need. Founded by youth pastors and licensed counselors Adam and Melissa Jernigan, Love Loud came into existence after they opened an indoor skate park to better reach the unchurched and were in turn exposed to the world of teen self-injury.
"We were youth pastors but we were only reaching the people in the four walls of the church," Melissa Jernigan said. "We were praying for a secular avenue that we could work through and when we saw that there was an indoor skate park that could be opened we bought that business and worked through there.
"It was the first time we worked with youth outside the church and they were sharing with us what was really going on and I had never experienced that or even heard of it. So when I saw how many teens actually did deal with this same thing but nobody was saying anything about it, we wanted them to know that they're not alone, these are the statistics that are going on and you can get help and set free from that."
The Jernigans provide statistics as they tour with bands and a Christian skate team to spread the news about the prevalence of self-hate, self-harm addictions. According to Love Loud Awareness, suicide is the third leading cause of teen death, 40 percent of teens have self-inflicted injury and only one out of 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment.
These statistics drive the Love Loud ministry to raise awareness, funding for their annual tours comes partially from fundraising efforts like the July fireworks stand. The Jernigans operated three stands last year and two this year, their second location is in Calhoun.
Other Bartow County TNT locations include the West Avenue Ingles in Cartersville, operated by the youth ministry team of Christian Fellowship Church, 2197 Highway 411. Youth pastor Ted Bailey hopes to raise funds for summer camp, conferences and youth outreaches.
Before becoming a vendor, organization representatives must attend an orientation and training seminar. Operator of the third location, Living Way Foursquare Church, has taken its place in a lot next to Northside Bank in Adairsville.
"It was kind of fun seeing all the people excited about fireworks and the Fourth of July," said Shirley Clay, church administrator. "It's not just about selling the fireworks. It's more about getting to meet people and it's about the holiday and so it was just kind of exciting because it's our first year doing it."
Living Way Foursquare will raise funds for an assortment of projects including their Christian academy, building fund and mission work. The church also will hold a celebration on the Fourth with food, music and children's entertainment.
Each of the locations began sales on Monday and will be open through Sunday night. Hours of operation are weekdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight.