With this month's announcement that Burnaby and New Westminster are now part of Operation Red Nose, Friday, Nov. 30, is the first night people can use the service to get home safely after a night of celebrating.
Operation Red Nose began in Quebec in 1984 and has since spread across the country. The program sees volunteers pick you up and drive you and your vehicle home.
The cost for this service is reasonable too: It's free.
Donations are encouraged and certainly appreciated.
And since the program runs on weekends throughout December, local organizers are looking for volunteer drivers in both Burnaby and New Westminster.
"Volunteers are the heart and soul of Operation Red Nose and this is such a success story," said local coordinator Chris Wilson, who pointed out that in the neighbouring Tri-Cities last year, 139 volunteers gave almost 600 rides. "As amazing as that was, we're still looking for more help. As the awareness grows, the need for more volunteers grows too."
Wilson said the service has been warmly received in the Tri-Cities and he expects a similar response in Burnaby and New Westminster.
"The main focus is getting people home safely, but we have a very generous community," said Wilson. "Last year, our average donation was over $30, which was the highest in the province."
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."
Last year, Operation Red Nose saw 4,241 volunteers providing 7,716 rides with 12 host groups serving more than 23 communities in the province. Volunteers drove more than 188,000 kilometers to help people get themselves and their vehicles home safely.
The service will be available on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 and 31.
Anybody who wishes to volunteer in Burnaby, New West or the Tri-Cities is asked to contact Wilson at 604-341-0241. To use the service, call 778-866-NOSE (6673). For more information, go to www.operationrednose.com.
Volunteers are asked to fill out a simple application and have a criminal record check done.
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