This holiday season will mark the 15th time hundreds of volunteers take to Sudbury's roads to help people get home safe if they've had too much to drink.
Operation Red Nose Sudbury launched its volunteer campaign Friday, to make sure it has enough people on board to successfully cover most of Greater Sudbury starting Thursday, Nov. 27.
“It's a lot of fun, and they know they're making a significant contribution to our community,” said Operation Red Nose Sudbury founding president Lesli Green, referring to the volunteers who help make the program a success each year.
Green said around 450 people signed up last year to be drivers, navigators or to handle calls for the program.
Each night Operation Red Nose operates, she said it needs around 100 people to make it work.
From Nov. 27, until the night of Dec. 31, people who feel they've had too much to drink, or aren't otherwise fit to operate their vehicle, will be able to call 705-675-NOSE(6673) to have an Operation Red Nose volunteer drive them home in their car.
Green said the service will be available every Thursday to Saturday, except Christmas day, which falls on a Thursday this year.
While Operation Red Nose covers most of Greater Sudbury, due to resource limitations the service will not be provided in Skead, Capreol, Onaping/Dowling, Whitefish, and east of Wahnapitae.
Greater Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen said the program is important to the police force, and his officers will be out promoting the service.
“Instead of making a choice that could kill somebody, make a choice to take a free ride home and tell somebody you love them,” Pedersen said.
Drunk driving accounts for 25 per cent of highway fatalities in Ontario, and is the No. 1 cause of criminal deaths on the province's roads, Pedersen said.
To volunteer for Operation Red Nose visit www.operationrednosesudbury.ca or pick up a sign-up sheet at any Tim Hortons location in Greater Sudbury.
By the numbers:
In the last five years Operation Red Nose Sudbury has:
Provided 7,426 rides
Helped 40,000 people get home
Supported 2,300 volunteers
Covered 215,974 kilometres