Rudy’s helpers drive more than 200 people home

Rudy's helpers drive more than 200 people home during second weekend of service.

Operation Red Nose volunteers were busy on the weekend guiding people safely to their destinations.

Demand was up Dec. 2-3, with volunteers giving 119 rides compared to about 100 rides on the same weekend last year. Those trips covered 2,867 kilometres and helped more than 200 people get to their destinations.

“It’s a service that people really need and are making use of,” said Grace Bell, Operation Red Nose coordinator.

The increase in rides could mean people are being more responsible about drinking over the holidays and choosing safe ways to get home, she added.

Passengers were generous donating $2,400. Money raised supports Pacific Sport’s Active Star and XploreSportz camps for children and youth, leadership programs in elementary schools and athlete services.

There were 19 volunteer teams, comprising 65 individuals.

Bell said Red Nose still needs more help, especially for the busier nights near the end of the month, Dec. 22-23, Dec. 30 and New Year’s Eve.

“We are still really, really short for the last four nights,” she said. “New Year’s Eve tends to be our busiest night.”

People who want to volunteer for those nights are encouraged to sign up early because the criminal record checks that are required of all volunteers take time to process.

Operation Red Nose offers service from Ladysmith to Lantzville 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. 9-10, Dec. 16-17, Dec. 23, Dec. 30 and New Year’s Eve.

To volunteer, please e-mail nanaimo@operationrednose.com or call the hotline.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com