Red Nose needs volunteers for driver service

The holiday season is fast approaching and with it the start of the 17th annual Operation Red Nose campaign in Nanaimo.

The program, hosted by PacificSport Vancouver Island, is a designated driver service intended to get people – and their cars – home safely from festive celebrations.

“You don’t have to be drinking to use it, but it’s for drinking and driving,” said Liza Taylor, marketing and communications coordinator for PacificSport.

“Last year we had just over 200 volunteers and we drove home over 1,600 clients in the Nanaimo area.”

She said organizers are looking for volunteers to man the phones as well as get behind the wheel when the service starts up Nov. 30.

The service is available on Friday and Saturday nights every weekend throughout December and also on New Year’s Eve between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. The area of service runs from Ladysmith to Lanztville.

Red Nose volunteers go out in teams of three to pick up clients – one drives the client’s car to their house or next destination with a navigator, while another follows in a support vehicle.

“Volunteers also provide their own vehicles and we pay for their gas through a sponsorship from Columbia Fuels,” said Taylor. “The more volunteers we have, the more people get home safely. The service is confidential. Nobody would know that you have been driven home by Operation Red Nose.”

The service is free, but donations are accepted to raise money for PacificSport’s athletic programs.

“It’s meant to do more than just help people get home,” said Taylor. “It helps kids in the different sports and the different programs we operate here.”

To volunteer, please e-mail or call 250-740-6572.

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