Operation Red Nose Ridge Meadows kicking off the holiday season in 2019. (Special to Black Press)

Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows revelers will have to look for alternative means of transport this holiday season

Operation Red Nose will not provide its safe ride service in B.C. this year

The Ridge Meadows chapter of Operation Red Nose said concerns for the safety of customers and volunteers influenced the decision to cancel the safe ride service province-wide this holiday season.

The program, which oversees volunteers driving impaired people – and their cars – home, would have been operating their 13th year in Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows.

Local program co-ordinator, Nicky Tu, said even though the service is an important one, the risks were too high.

“When we were putting our input into headquarters, we had to consider that a large chunk of our volunteers are seniors,” she said.

“A lot of them said they wouldn’t be comfortable coming in for the volunteers service this season because of COVID-19.”

READ MORE: Operation Red Nose cancels safe ride service due to COVID-19 risks

Tu noted the uncertainty of having to drive a client’s car, as well as being in a small confined space with people outside their bubble, were the top concerns for volunteers.

Last year, the local Operation Red Nose had close to 100 volunteers, who provided 326 rides, that made sure 788 clients arrived home safely.

As a result of the safe ride service being discontinued, the donations to the charity that operates it, will see a hit.

Locally, Operation Red Nose is run by KidSport Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows, a charity which provides financial assistance for registration fees and equipment to kids aged 18 and under.

“This year is especially tough because when we’re not running Operation Red Nose, we typically have sponsors that fund the programs, and this year we’re already missing three major donations due to COVID,” Tu said.

“We just hopeful we can maintain the charity for another year, as we are a not-for-profit.”

Operation Red Nose’s headquarters, which is based in Quebec, are planning to create an awareness campaign in November, which will encourage people to plan a safe ride home.



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

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