Red Nose swamped with calls

Red Nose volunteers were swamped on the weekend with demands from people seeking a safe ride home.

Red Nose volunteers were swamped on the weekend with demands from people seeking a safe ride home.

Grace Bell, Operation Red Nose coordinator, said as the season progresses, people need to ensure they phone ahead of time to arrange a ride to avoid frustration. Past 11 p.m., some callers waited an hour for service.

“People have got to give it a lot of time. As we get closer to Christmas ,we are swamped and can only do what we can allow with the number of volunteers,” she said. “Volunteer numbers are up but so is the demand.”

The 10 teams, consisting of three volunteers each, were kept busy on Dec. 9-10. They gave 132 rides taking more than 200 people 3,457 kilometres to their destination.

Passengers were generous, donating more than $2,700, which will support Pacific Sport’s camps for children and youth, leadership programs in elementary schools and athlete services.

Volunteers are still needed to fill shifts for the remaining nights of service. Red Nose hopes to have a minimum of 10 teams. On New Year’s Eve, which is historically Red Nose’s busiest night, it needs 20 teams.

Operation Red Nose offers service from Lantzville to Ladysmith from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. People can call the Red Nose hotline 250-755-6969 for a ride. Service is offered Dec. 16-17, Dec. 22-23, Dec. 30 and New Year’s Eve.

To volunteer, please e-mail nanaimo@operationrednose.com, call the hotline or drop by the RCMP detachment to fill out Red Nose forms. All volunteers are required to have a criminal record check.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com