Dave Dickson and Glen Holling are two out of many people in Williams Lake volunteering their time for Operation Red Nose.
Someone who has had too much to drink can call Operation Red Rose and be picked up and driven to their destination, while another volunteer follows in the client’s vehicle.
That’s the catch — clients must have their own vehicles to make use of the program.
“If they don’t have a car we don’t take them,” Holling says.
Dickson says there are more than 90 Operation Red Nose programs in Canada.
Through the Williams Lake Rotary Club, Operation Red Nose began in Williams Lake three years ago.
“All of the funds raised with Operation Red Nose must go to promoting youth and thus we have the four service clubs this year,” Dickson says.
This year, organizations supported by the program are the Williams Lake Gymnastics Club, KidSport, Blue Fins, and the Columneetza Rugby Club.
And members from those organizations also pitch in by volunteering their time.
“There are nine people from each of those four clubs each night and then we augment it with Rotarians and other community volunteers who like to come forward,” Dickson says, adding that more than 100 volunteers help out with the program.
In the end, the proceeds are divided among the four groups so they all get equal amounts.
Last year, during the holiday season, Operation Red Nose provided 240 rides to 484 riders and raised closed to $6,000 for local youth organizations.
“I think it’s catching on better,” Holling says.
Dickson adds that because of enhanced enforcement, more people are taking responsibility and that Christmas is one of the safest times to be on the roads.
“But having said that, we’re still getting impaired drivers by not only alcohol but drugs and at an alarming number that is not acceptable,” he says.
Holling adds that Operation Red Nose clients are very thankful.
“It’s really a positive experience,” he says. “You envision driving a bunch of drunks home, but that’s really not what it turns out to be. Most of those rides are very entertaining and people are generous.”
Operation Red Nose will run Saturday, Dec. 31. To request a ride, call 778-267-0020.