Pandemic restrictions have been lifted, and that goes for this year's Operation Red Nose campaign.
COVID-19 vaccinations will no longer be required of drivers or passengers to utilize the service, as was the case in 2021, Elsa Poppleton, Operation Red Nose co-ordinator, told KTW.
She said Operation Red Nose is following provincial guidelines in that regard, and will have masks, hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes available in their vehicles.
The 26th Annual Operation Red Nose campaign, which raises funds for local amateur sports, kicked off Nov. 8 downtown at the Desert Gardens Seniors Community Centre at 540 Seymour St.
Beginning later this month for 16 days, the designated driving campaign to combat impaired driving sees teams of three pick up people and their vehicles and drive them both home safely from engagements such as holiday partiers.
The service is done entirely with volunteers and is by donation. So far this year, operation Red Nose has about 50 volunteers, and they need more.
"We're encouraging everyone to sign up," Poppleton said.
In 2021, Operation Red Nose provided just 339 rides in the city, with pandemic protocols in place, returning after being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. In 2019, the service provided more than 1,200 rides. It's best year on record was 1,386 rides in 2017.
A person does not have to be impaired to use Operation Red Nose, and all proceeds go towards PacificSport Interior BC in developing programs for amateur sports in the Kamloops region.
Last year the service raised fewer dollars than previous campaigns with just $12,000 raised — something Poppleton attributed to COVID-19 restrictions and a lack of holiday parties in 2021.
"We certainly hope to surpass that this year," she said, noting in the past Operation Red Nose has raised about $35,000 for PacificSport.
PacificSport is a not-for-profit society and a legacy of the 1993 Canada Summer Games that were hosted in Kamloops.
This year, Operation Red Nose is available Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on Nov. 25, 26 and Dec. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 29, 30 and 31 between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. For a ride, call the Operation Red Nose service line at 250-372-5110.
To volunteer, visit the PacificSport Interior BC website or attend the Tournament Capital Centre, Kamloops Sports Council or Volunteer Kamloops to fill out a form.
For more information, call 250-320-0650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.