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More for the merrier: Tri-Cities Operation Red Nose makes urgent call for NYE volunteers

It's set to be the busiest night of the organization's annual campaign as party-goers will be looking for a safe ride home.
Operation Red Nose is asking for Tri-Cities residents to step up as the organization is in need of volunteers for New Year's Eve (Dec. 31).

Snow and colder nights won't keep a group of dedicated volunteers from ensuring all Tri-Cities holiday partiers get home safely this winter.

But while Operation Red Nose (ORN) is confident it can handle the first three weekends of its 2022 campaign, the organization is already looking ahead to New Year's Eve as there's concern about meeting the predicted demand.

Spokesperson Jackie Weinkam told the Tri-City News the charitable group is seeking more drivers and volunteers for Dec. 31 and into the early hours of Jan. 1, 2023, as that's typically the busiest weekend.

She said "the sooner the better" is preferred for interested residents to sign up as it requires about a week to complete the volunteer process, which includes background checks and RCMP approval.

"We'd love to have more people get involved on the organizing committee, volunteering to drive and work in the office, and get more businesses on board as sponsors and having some of their staff out driving."

To learn how to become a volunteer, you're encouraged to visit ORN's website or email the organization directly at [email protected].

ORN is a by-donation service for Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody residents that need a ride home after a festive night out with friends, family and colleagues.

The 27th annual safe-ride season officially starts tomorrow and Saturday (Dec. 2-3) between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. on both nights.

Drivers pick up passengers that have requested a ride from their party and drive them home in their own vehicles, while another driver follows them to take the volunteers to the next ride.

Tri-Cities home destinations are preferred as communities considered out-of-reach for ORN may include Vancouver, Surrey, Langley and Mission.

"While we are not able to take reservations, if you call two hours before you need to be picked up, we should be able to get to you within that time," ORN Tri-Cities' website reads.

"It's recommended that you have a back-up plan too, in case we're not able to meet all of the demand."

If your home is out of reach, Weinkam said ORN will coordinate to see how far they can take you.

Since its inception, ORN has raised more than $110,000 for KidSport Tri-Cities, which CEO Chris Wilson told the Tri-City News has "been a great source of funding" for the last 15 years.

In 2019, the last full season of safe rides before the COVID-19 pandemic, 436 rides were given by 221 volunteers, ringing in a total of more than $16,176 in donations.

The number for local party-goers to request a driver is 778-866-6673.