KAMLOOPS — Starting this evening, those partaking in a little 'extra' holiday fun in Kamloops can get a safe ride home, while donating to a good cause.
For the last 22 years, Operation Red Nose has safely and soberly driven home those unable to do so, along with their vehicles, to raise money for Pacific Sport.
Coordinator Shannon Gugleilmini says this year they're hoping to raise a similar amount to last year's campaign, which wound up with about $35,000.
"So those athletes that make it to national competitions and have used up the bank of mum and dad, we'd like to provide them with some travel funds," Gugleilmini explains. "So that's where the money from the Operation Red Nose campaign goes towards."
Gugleilmini says volunteering doesn't mean committing to every evening, even just offering to help out for one night can make a world of difference.
"We're hoping to have about 12 teams out on the road," she says. "We're still needing more volunteers though."
Kamloops RCMP applauds the fundraising effort for keeping the streets safer during heightened impaired driving over the holidays.
Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says along with the donations for local athletes, the service also keeps the community safe.
"It's a win because you know that not only are you getting home safe with your vehicle, but other people on the road are safe as well," Shelkie explains, "and also you know that if somebody sober is driving you home or not impaired, then there's no chance that the police are going to be stopping you, and (if stopped) perhaps there could be criminal charges, so that's another win."
Shelkie says given how long the service has been in Kamloops, it's hard to compare it to what impaired driving incidents were like in the years before.
"Last year, there was over 1,300 rides given by Operation Red Nose. So you've got to think that that is having a significant decrease in the number of impaired drivers that we're finding," she says. "So I would say yes, definitely, it makes a difference."
Kicking off tonight (Nov. 30), the driving service will be available Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 8:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m.
Volunteers are still needed, and those interested are asked to call Gugleilmini at (250) 320-0650.
To use the service, people can check out the Operation Red Nose app, or call (250) 372-5110 starting at 8:00 p.m.
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