Volunteer drivers sought for Operation Red Nose in Surrey-Langley

Seasonal by-donation service gets going this Friday night, Nov. 25

At a launch event at Guildford Town Centre

SURREY — There may be no greater – or smarter – bargain than Operation Red Nose this holiday season.

For less than the price of a case of beer, the folks at Red Nose Langley-Surrey will not only drive you home from your next office party or holiday gathering, but they’ll get your car home too.

Knowing that your donation goes to a great cause – the kids at Langley Gymnastics – is the icing on the cake.

On Sunday afternoon (Nov. 20) at Guildford Town Centre, Operation Red Nose Langley-Surrey officially launched its 2016 season. There were gymnasts doing things that make most of us realize just how broken down our own bodies are. There was Rudy, the reindeer-shaped mascot. And there were members and supporters of the program, on hand to talk to the crowd and answer questions.

But there was one thing in particular that likely didn’t get the attention it needs. Simply, the program needs more volunteers. Right now.

CLICK HERE for volunteering information.

At the shopping mall, Melissa Coombes played the role of emcee. She’s the gym manager at Langley Gymnastics, the organization that manages and acts as Red Nose Langley-Surrey HQ. And, given her many years of Red Nose service, she’s a heck of a spokesperson for the local chapter.

Coombes proudly talks about the number of not-quite-sober folks they’ve helped – 669 of them in Langley-Surrey last year alone. And she stresses how easy it is to avail oneself of the service. All users need to do is give them a half-hour lead time, call 604-532-0888 and donate.

(story continues below photo)

PICTURED: Gymnasts perform at Guildford Town Centre on Sunday. Photo: Gord Goble

But Coombes is most proud of the drivers, like Barbara Spaans, who’s now into her 14th year and “just loves it.”

Problem is, there’s not enough Barbara Spaans out there.

“We have and need 300 volunteers usually. Those volunteers will often sign up for more than one night. We essentially need 100 of them each night, but right now we’re not even close. Not even half that.”

A typical volunteer evening begins between 8 and 9 p.m. and ends by 3 a.m. The drivers convene at Langley Gymnastics HQ, where they get the lowdown, watch a quick tutorial video and grab road food and drinks.

“Every night, volunteers get food supplied,” Coombes noted. “Meat trays, platters, cookies and more. It’s always about safety, so they’re then assembled into teams of three – two people to drive each party and one to drive the volunteer vehicle.

“Some (volunteers) choose to donate fuel, others are reimbursed. Also, some of our cars are supplied by local dealerships.”

The 2016 season kicks off Nov. 25 and runs every Friday and Saturday night until Dec. 17, with an encore on Dec 31. To volunteer, visit Rednoselangleysurrey.ca, email langley-surrey@operationrednose.com or call 604-532-0888.

Gordgoble@gmail.com

 

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