Kamloopsians out on the town during the holiday season can get a safe ride home beginning on Friday, Nov. 29.
Operation Red Nose announced its 2019 campaign with a launch party on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Tournament Capital Centre.
During each Christmas holiday season, the road safety campaign against impaired driving has volunteers drive motorists — who have consumed alcohol or don't feel fit to drive — home in their own vehicles, with other volunteers following in a pilot vehicle.
Operation Red Nose is a fundraiser for PacificSport BC, with money raised via donations used to help amateur athletes in the Kamloops area.
Co-ordinator Katie Klassen said the goal for this season is to raise up to $40,000, building on the success of last year’s campaign, which brought in about $33,000.
Operation Red Nose is offered in 11 communities in B.C. and in 100 cities and towns across Canada, with Kamloops boasting some solid statistics.
In 2018, the Tournament Capital provided 1,313 rides home — the most of any other B.C. community with a Red Nose program and 12th among 102 host communities across Canada. Escort drivers racked up more than 25,000 kilometres on those trips.
“Kamloops is such a community-minded city and I think we just get the volunteers,” Klassen said. “We have great support from from our sponsors and we’re able to really get the word out about this service, as well.”
Last year, Operation Red Nose had about 200 volunteers involved in Kamloops. Klassen said the program this year has recruited about 100 volunteers and hope to sign up another 250 people.
Volunteers are needed to answer phones and drive vehicles.
“A lot of people are very last minute and they apply throughout the campaign, so I’m pretty sure we’ll get there,” Klassen said.
Operation Red Nose will operate for the same number of days this year, beginning on Nov. 29 and Nov. 30, followed by every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in December, as well as on New Year’s Eve. Rides are available from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and until 2 a.m. on Thursdays.
“We’re continuing with the Thursday nights of service,” Klassen said. “They’ve been growing in popularity.” Klassen said the holidays can be a busy time of year as people are out celebrating, noting Operation Red Nose provides yet another option for getting home safely, with the added bonus of getting your vehicle home with you.
For more information about Operation Red Nose or to inquire about becoming a volunteer, call 250-320-0650.
For a ride home once the program begins, call their service line at 250-372-5110.