Donations to Operation Red Nose were down this year, and organizers think that is mostly due to inclement weather.
The free service, in which volunteers drive clients and their vehicles home, offered 364 rides home this year, down by 110 from 2015.
On New Year’s Eve, when it snowed all day, the service only gave 46 rides, down from 73 on the same night a year ago.
“New Year’s is by far always our busiest night,” said Jared Kope, executive director of Operation Red Nose in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
The local ride service, in its ninth year, raised $10,400 this year for Pacific Sport Fraser Valley, a non-profit group that assists athletes with the costs of competing at national levels.
Through partnerships with recreation departments, school districts, health authorities and local sport organizations, PacificSport Fraser Valley also delivers programming for the Canadian Sport for Life movement, improving the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada, including camps and clinics, training and programs.
Last year, Operation Red Nose raised $13,800 for Pacific Sport.
Fewer donations means Pacific Sport can’t offer as much assistance to local high-level athletes.
“We have less for grants for athletes,” Kope said.
The local chapter covers Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Mission, Abbotsford, Kent, Hope and Boston Bar.
The local Operation Red Nose group had 320 volunteer shifts covered this year, down seven from a year ago.
Kope said the weather didn’t help the ride service this year, and that the organization needs to a better job promoting itself, especially to young adults.
It does well attracting adults attending work parties, but wants to younger adults to know the service is available to them, as well.
Kope also acknowledged volunteers and sponsors, without which Operation Red Nose would not exist.
“This is a community initiative to make this happen.”