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Operation Red Nose needs New Year's volunteers

More people than ever are calling Operation Red Nose to get home safely from festive events.

More people than ever are calling Operation Red Nose to get home safely from festive events.

On the weekend, the volunteer-based driving service provided 168 rides to Tri-City revellers, up from 140 over the corresponding weekend in 2011; another 19 rides were provided in New Westminster and 36 in Burnaby.

Operation Red Nose co-ordinator Chris Wilson said after offering the service in Burnaby and New West for just six nights, volunteers have given 131 rides; in its first year of operation in the Tri-Cities, volunteers provided 107 rides over all nine nights.

"We had some great support from the New West Police and their volunteers," Wilson said. "We had 21 of them out on Saturday and it made a huge difference."

This Friday night, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan as well as council members and city employees, will be driving people home.

None of it would happen without the support of volunteers - and more are needed for New Year's Eve, often the busiest night of the year.

"Why not ring in the New Year having fun and while making a difference in your community," said Malcolm Kennedy, Operation Red Nose's volunteer co-ordinator. "It's a lot cheaper than going out and you won't wake up with a hangover."

There's still time to volunteer but anyone who might be interested is encouraged to act quickly, since the process can take some time. For those not interested in driving, the organization also needs help answering phones and dispatching.

Operation Red Nose is a free, seasonal service organized by KidSport and the Rotary Club of Coquitlam Sunrise, in partnership with ICBC, that allows party-goers and their vehicles to get home safely.

The service runs from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. over the next two weekends and New Year's Eve. Anyone wanting a ride can call 778-866-6673 (NOSE) during those hours; pre-booking is not available.