With the calendar turning to December and holiday party season in full swing, Operation Red Nose kicked off last Friday to good numbers in Burnaby and New Westminster.
Operation Red Nose, which began in Quebec in 1984, sees volunteers in teams of three pick you up and drive you and your vehicle home. This is the first year the service has been offered in Burnaby and New Westminster.
Chris Wilson is the local organizer who has seen the program grow in the Tri-Cities and he helped bring it to Burnaby and New Westminster.
"Our first night ever in Burnaby delivered 14 rides and New West had six," said Wilson. "We had 53 volunteers giving up their Friday or Saturday night to make sure people got home safely. There's a strong demand for the service, so we're still looking for more volunteers.
Overall for the Tri-Cities, Burnaby and New Westminster, Wilson said volunteers delivered 84 rides, drove 2,687 kilometres and organizers collected $3,015 in donations during the first weekend. That's almost double last year's numbers of 40 rides, 1,338 kilometres driven and $1,455 in donations collected.
"We're very excited about the first week's numbers and are looking forward to the rest of the campaign," said Wilson.
The free service will be available for the rest of the month on these days: Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 and 31.
Anybody who wishes to volunteer in Burnaby, New West or the Tri-Cities is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers come from all walks of life and in the past, has included sitting mayors and councillors from the Tri-Cities. "We have everyone from 19-year-olds to 78-year-olds and everyone in between," said Wilson. "It's a lot of fun, you meet some great people and you have the satisfaction of getting people home safely."
Volunteers work in teams of three, with two driving the client in the client's vehicle and the third following behind in their vehicle.
"This makes it safe for everyone," said Wilson. "It's also fun because you can volunteer with friends or we'll create a team for you."
Volunteers are asked to fill out a simple application and have a criminal record check done.
To use the service, call 778-866-NOSE (6673). For more information, go to www.operationrednose.com.
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