Losing nine nights of sleep leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve is worth it if they can get people safely home, said Dave Dickson who co-ordinates Operation Red Nose in Williams Lake.
The campaign kicks off this Friday, Nov. 30, based out of Heartland Toyota, and will continue Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22 and Dec. 31, with rides available between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. for people who have a vehicle with them that also needs transporting home.
“They must have their car because we don’t want to take away business from the taxis,” Dickson told the Tribune.
Rides are by donation with all proceeds going to four local groups — The Williams Lake Blue Fins Swim Club, Cariboo Chilcotin Gymnastics Association, Cariboo Chilcotin Youth Fiddlers and Camp Likely.
Volunteers from each group help with the rides, and Dickson said the gymnastics and swim club are still in need of more volunteers if anyone wants to contact them directly to help out.
Demand for Operation Red Nose continues to climb each year in Williams Lake, with 719 people using the service last year.
“We see the people truly take advantage of it and we’re delighted,” Dickson said. “It’s a safe ride home and we see a lot of younger people taking it which is encouraging. They are planning ahead and not going out and getting drunk and then wondering how they are getting home.”
Leading up to each evening, he gets multiple phone calls just confirming Operation Red Nose is operating that night.
This is the 11th year Dickson has organized the service in Williams Lake.
He started doing it 20 years ago when he was the regional manager of ICBC in Prince George.
Initially he worked with the University of Northern British Columbia and then the Rotary Club of Prince George took it over.
Operation Red Nose offers ride service in 102 communities across Canada.
The number to call to use the service is 250-392-2222.