WOW fireworks stand opens

It’s that time of year again for the folks at Women Outreaching Women.

Their annual discount fireworks stand is now open and selling fireworks through New Year’s Day.

“We offer anything to please little kids all the way up to adults,” Andy DeShazer, housing coordinator, said.

DeShazer, who said firework sales go directly to defraying the costs of operating WOW’s battered women and children’s shelter, has been in charge of the shelter for years, and hopes area residents think about the organization’s cause when selecting fireworks to celebrate the New Year.

“We try to keep a good selection,” DeShazer said, adding that those who visit the fireworks stand can enjoy choosing what they want in a climate controlled building.

“One hundred percent of the money (from fireworks sales) goes back into the shelter,” Executive Director Judi Adams said.

“We’d like to think we have the cheapest products in town,” she said.

DeShazer said the money is desperately needed because the cost of operating the shelter rises each year.

The organization was forced to close the shelter in January 2010 but reopened it in July 2010 thanks to the generosity of local residents like John Holmes, who owns Holmes Building Materials.

Back then, WOW operated two shelters but today, only has enough money to operate one, which can accommodate nine women and children, a small percentage of those who need a safe place to go when they are faced with domestic violence.

“Before, (the shelter closed) we could accommodate 18,” DeShazer said. “We’re always in need for additional space.”

Their mission of making money for the shelter isn’t their only goal, however, DeShazer said. Those who visit the fireworks building can learn more about the organization’s mission.

“We need to teach people more about awareness,” he said. “What the base problem is and what domestic violence is. That’s what’s going to slow or end it is to educate people about it.”

The nonprofit organization aims to stop violence against women and children, and their mission is to empower battered women, empower children, and to create community awareness about family violence, he said.

The organization tries to achieve this goal by providing support through trained advocates, staff and volunteers for women who are victims of family violence, so they will not be forced to live in fear for their lives, organizers say in a pamphlet they provide to abused women.

According to information provided by WOW, Louisiana is first in the nation for domestic violence. Every 24 hours, seven women die from this abuse nationally.

To try to end the cycle of abuse, WOW promotes community awareness by offering presentations and training to local organizations, churches, businesses, schools and local officials.

WOW hopes to make the community aware of what is happening in their neighborhoods, and educates people on how they can recognize domestic violence, where to seek help, and what they can do to prevent further abuse to women and children, their pamphlet states.

WOW offers a crisis hotline, an emergency shelter, women’s advocates, referrals, a supportive housing program (for disabled single women), support groups, spiritual counseling, financial planning and budgeting, legal advocates, domestic violence education, a food pantry and financial assistance for rent and utilities.

To help the organization reach their goals, WOW is always in need of volunteers. Volunteers are needed to work the crisis hotline, the fireworks stand, for transportation, as advocates, as handymen, for fundraisers, for office duties and as speakers.

For more information about WOW, call (225) 791-3940, or send an email to assistant@womenowomen.com. The crisis hotline number is (225) 665-9100. More information can also be found on their website, http://www.womenowomen.com.

WOW’s fireworks stand is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

They will start selling fireworks at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, and will resume firework sales from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Fireworks will be half off on New Year’s Day.

The stand is at 26852 4-H Club Road, Denham Springs.