Helping hands Operation Red Nose seeking volunteers
Rudy, the reindeer mascot for Operation Red Nose, has got his volunteer pressure rising, heading into the 20th season of the Christmas designated driver campaign. “It’s sitting at 165 over 74 right now and we need that to rise,” lead organizer Karen Toombs of the Prince George Nechako Rotary Club said. There are 165 volunteers signed up with 74 criminal record checks done, Toombs explained.
Ultimately the designated driver service, which provides party-goers a safe ride home for themselves and their vehicles, needs about 300 volunteers to not only drive the vehicles, but also to navigate and answer phones as requests for rides come into headquarters.
There’s also a need for handy people who can set up radios in vehicles that are connected to the dispatch office and there are even spots available for those who just want to get coffee for the dispatchers or provide a pot of chili to hungry volunteers who spend hours on the road during the holiday season.
The reason so many volunteers are needed is that many volunteers will volunteer one night during the season that sees a typical evening’s work from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., Dec. 1 and 2, Dec. 8 and 9, Dec. 15 and 16, and Dec. 29, 30 and New Year’s Eve, with rides starting at 9 p.m.
“That could leave people really tired, especially the New Year’s Eve shift that could go as late at 5:30 in the morning,” Toombs said. “We do have a hardcore group that comes out for all nine nights.”
During the announcement Tuesday to put the call out for more volunteers and provide information about the service, in attendance were Mayor Lyn Hall and city councilors Terri McConnachie and Susan Scott, this year’s ambassador for Operation Red Nose Prince George.
“This is a hugely important service to the community because it gives people the opportunity to go out and enjoy their evening and we’re all trying to make sure people don’t drink and drive,” Hall said.
“People can use Operation Red Nose to get home from a party and not have to worry about how they’re going to get home afterwards. And because this is a fundraiser for the Necako Rotary Club, it gives them an opportunity to do things to better the community.”
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Operation Red Nose in Prince George, an open house is planned for ICBC headquesrters between 7 and 9 p.m. on Nov. 24.
Volunteers must be at least 19 years old and have a valid driver’s license.
In 2016, there were 872 safe rides home provided in 10 nights in Prince George.
For more information, call 250-961-6465 or visit www.ornpg.ca.
Ultimately the designated driver service, which provides party-goers a safe ride home for themselves and their vehicles, needs about 300 volunteers...