(Contributed)                                Operation Red Nose Ridge Meadows kicks off its 12th year.

(Contributed) Operation Red Nose Ridge Meadows kicks off its 12th year.

UPDATE: Operation Red Nose Ridge Meadows kicks off with 49 rides

Entering 12th year offering free rides home in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows

The Operation Red Nose campaign kicked off its 12th year of providing safe rides home for holiday revelers this past weekend.

On Friday there were six teams, three people in each, who gave out 15 rides and got 33 people home safely.

Saturday night there were seven teams who gave out 34 rides and got 73 home safely.

But, ORN coordinator Nicky Tu said, they are short on volunteers as they are expecting a busy season this year.

Every weekend from the end of November to New Year’s Eve, Operation Red Nose will provide a confidential designated driving service for motorists in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows who consume too much alcohol or don’t feel fit to drive after a night out.

Teams of three people will meet motorists, give them a drive home and drive their vehicle home, as well.

Last year, 62 teams of volunteers got 804 people home safely, providing 353 rides.

Local organizers are hoping to help even more this year.

Donations for the service are encouraged, but not mandatory and go to KidSport Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, an organization that provides financial sponsorship for local children who want to play sports, but who cannot afford to join.

RELATED: Operation Red Nose ready for 11th year in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows

More than $11,461 was raised by Operation Red Nose last year for the non-profit sports organization.

KidSport has been operating in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows since 2009, and over the past eight years has handed out more than $300,000 to help more than 1,500 children register in 32 sports.

“Even though last year we were pretty short on volunteers … I think we did a little bit better than the previous year,” Tu, who is also with KidSport, said of donations.

It was also the first year the local chapter of KidSport hosted the ride-home campaign.

The operations side is run by Maple Ridge Towing, also the headquarters for ORN Ridge Meadows.

RELATED: Biggest night left for Operation Red Nose

Volunteers help out from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on the designated weekends.

Food donations are accepted to be shared by the volunteers at ORN headquarters during shifts.

Also, any gifts that are donated in recognition of the efforts of volunteers will be awarded to them at a reception in January.

ORN nights of service this year are Nov. 29 and 30, Dec. 6 and 7, Dec. 13 and 14, Dec. 20 and 21 and Dec. 31.

• To volunteer with ORN, call Kate Doucette, volunteer director, at 604-727-7611 or email orn.rm.volunteerdirector@gmail.com.

For more information or to book a ride, go to operationrednose.com or call 604-515-NOSE.

If a business is planning a party, a corporate planning pack can be booked at Ridge-Meadows@operationrednose.com to make sure employees get home safely.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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Operation Red Nose Ridge Meadows kicks off their 12th year. (Contributed)

Operation Red Nose Ridge Meadows kicks off their 12th year. (Contributed)