Operation Red Nose’s numbers were down a bit in Thompson in 2018 but it wasn’t from a lack of effort on the part of the organizing committee and the volunteers who drove clients’ cars home for them during the holiday season.
“We had a lot of people calling us and it seemed like they used the service a lot,” said organizing committee president Nelly Duarte. “Obviously we have seen the changes that have affected town as far as our changes economically. Our stats are lower than last year but I would say that a lot of people still did use the service. We had a lot of support as far as food sponsors donating for our volunteers and we had more sponsors than we’ve had before. It’s awesome to see the community getting involved, these community businesses getting involved for a community cause.”
Operation Red Nose Thompson had 146 volunteers in December, down about a quarter from the previous year, and gave out 339 rides over nine nights of operation from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31. They also brought in $6,155.22 in donations, some of which will go to community organizations that provided volunteers like the peewee A Thompson King Miners hockey team, the air cadets and Born to Dance. The Thompson program was fourth in the province in the number of rides provided, fifth in total donations and had the sixth-most volunteers.
Duarte said the whole holiday season was fairly steady, though New Year’s Eve was probably busier than both nights of the first weekend of service – Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 – combined.
“New Year’s Eve, before midnight we had about 10 to 12 calls,” Duarte says. “By the end of the night at 3 a.m. we had gotten a total of 50.”
Duarte said credit for the designated driving program’s success goes to the people who volunteered from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekend nights and New Year’s Eve.
“It’s really awesome that we had so many volunteers come out,” she said. “There are people that, yes, are part of the groups that are being funded but there’s also people that are not affiliated to any of these groups that are coming out and really just putting in their own time for the cause so big shout out to everybody, all our sponsors.”