Red Nose is celebrating another season of successfully taking hundreds of potential impaired drivers home safely.
St. John Ambulance concluded its annual Operation Red Nose program in Thunder Bay, which ran throughout the month of December. The free service provided 748 rides on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights throughout the holiday season, nearly matching their five-year high.
The busiest night for Operation Red Nose was Dec. 14, which St. John Ambulance regional volunteer coordinator Amber Prairie attributed to college wrapping up its fall semester and university students beginning to conclude their exam sessions.
She added the same weekend last year also had the busiest day.
“We did 111 rides that night and we had 15 teams of people,” Prairie said on Friday. “It was very hectic and busy but it was a good night.”
About 250 people volunteered their time for the campaign, with volunteers ranging in age from students to retirees.
Prairie said there was a handful of volunteers that were on hand for each of the 14 nights the service was offered.
For the most part the campaign ran smoothly. One of the biggest issues encountered was people getting picked up not having proof of insurance present, which is required to receive a ride.
The organization received nearly $29,000 in donations from both corporations and those using the service. These donations go towards funding youth programs that run throughout the year, and might not otherwise be possible.
Despite the success of the program, there are no current plans to expand the duration of the operation.
The service is run throughout the year in some cities, but Prairie said the volunteer pool is not deep enough to support it.