Delta Gymnastics isn’t giving up on Operation Red Nose this year.
At a launch event on Thursday, Nov. 8, the society announced it will be hosting Operation Red Nose (ORN) in Delta and Richmond for its 17th holiday season. Operation Red Nose has been around since 1984, providing rides home for those who don’t feel fit to drive during the holiday season. Volunteers in teams of three respond to calls in their area and take both the driver and their car home for the night.
In Richmond and Delta, ORN will be available on Friday and Saturday nights between Nov. 30 to Dec. 23, including an additional day on New Years Eve. People who need to be picked up in Richmond or Delta can call 604-943-0460. Anyone interested in volunteering can call 604-943-0460 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, Delta Gymnastics saw 358 people volunteer with ORN, and over the course of the season gave out 367 rides. It was a slight decline from previous years, which Ellyn Schriber said was a positive thing.
“We like to look at this positively and say that ICBC’s message of drinking and driving is really getting through to people,” Schriber, Delta Gymnastics growth and development officer, said. “I honestly feel that, especially with the younger generation, they are having designated drivers, they are watching how much they drink. So that is totally a positive thing.”
John Holmes, a long-time ORN volunteer, disagreed. He felt the decline in rides was because people thought ORN wasn’t operating at all — not just in Surrey and Langley, which lost its host organization last year and will not be operating this winter either.
“It affected us really badly,” he said. “So many people thought that we were not operating last year.”
However, this year could see some changes, Schriber noted. The legalization of marijuana means that some people may be requesting rides because they are impaired by cannabis rather than alcohol. ORN has always been available for people who feel unable to drive for many reasons — people who are tired or extremely upset have called the service in the past.
It’s also possible that the lack of an ORN host in Surrey and Langley could even make things a little more busy for Delta Gymnastics.
“We’ve always sort of covered South Surrey and White Rock,” Schriber said, adding that the teams “try to go as far as [they] can” but can’t guarantee pick up because they don’t want to disappoint anyone. “All of us try to cover the Surrey/Langley area as best as possible. It’s tough though.”
She added that Delta Gymnastics would be open to helping another group get started in the Langley/Surrey area, if they decided to take it on. “We just keep hoping that someone will come forward.”