Operation Red Nose raises more than $21K

Operation Red Nose volunteers provided 662 safe rides home locally during their 2013 campaign.  - File photo
Operation Red Nose volunteers provided 662 safe rides home locally during their 2013 campaign.
— image credit: File photo

It was a long night for the volunteers at Operation Red Nose in South Delta, but with the last team finishing up at a quarter to five in the morning, they made sure everyone got home safe on New Year’s Eve.

The annual safe ride program finished its 2013 campaign last week, as more than 250 volunteers pitched in to drive holiday revelers home in their own cars, helping to keep South Delta’s streets free of drunk drivers.

“You’re not driving drunks home,” said local campaign organizer Carlene Lewall. “You’re driving people who have chosen to be responsible and do the right thing.”

The 2013 campaign saw an average of 48 volunteers work each of the nine nights in December and November the free service was offered locally. In all, the local program provided 662 safe rides to party goers in Delta and Richmond.

In Canada, 56,437 volunteers in 106 host communities provided rides for 82,530 motorists. In B.C., 4,347 volunteers took part in the Operation Red Nose tradition by providing 7,768 rides to motorists who did not feel fit to drive.

This year marked the 30th national campaign since the program was founded in Quebec in 1984, with more than a million volunteers taking part in that span.

While the service is provided free of charge, the party-goers getting a ride home in their own car usually tip, and tip big. That money goes to operating the service, with what’s leftover benefitting Delta Gymnastics, locally.

“Our teams drove 21,948 kilometers and thanks to the generous donations raised $21,270 for the kids,” said Lewall.

That total includes a single donation of $2,500 given to one of the volunteers.

“That was an amazing donation,” said Lewall. “It’s great that we have the support of the community like that.”

Lewall has volunteered with the local campaign for the past 14 years, and says it’s a fun way to spend New Year’s Eve.

“It’s a lot of fun actually,” said Lewall. “Sometimes it’s celebrities you are picking up, sometimes it’s a really nice car you get to drive. And I’ve never done anything where I have been thanked so much.”

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