June 20th, 2024

Operation Red Nose successful despite volunteer shortage

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 4, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Operation Red Nose finished 2022 with a successful campaign across the country, and with a great comeback locally after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In total across the country, over 26,000 motorists and their passengers were able to arrive home safely thanks to the many volunteers that took time from their holidays to help out with Operation Red Nose through the 2022 campaign.

Here in Lethbridge the campaign was able to provide 517 rides through their eight-night run, according to local ORN coordinator Kathy Hong.

She said it was a big success coming back from their two-year hiatus, even though they had some volunteer shortages.

“Towards the later nights in December we were short volunteers. We did have to cancel one night of operation on Thursday Dec. 22 because we didn’t have enough volunteers,” said Hong.

She said that even though there was a little bit of a struggle on the volunteer side, they were happy to still be able to provide the service to Lethbridge this holiday season

“It was steady throughout the whole time but New Year’s Eve was definitely our most busy night overall. I think it was 65 rides on that night alone. We had to cut down our phones and turn them off earlier than we typically would, because we didn’t have enough volunteers to accommodate everyone,” said Hong.

She said on New Year’s Eve by 12:30 a.m. they had to shut off their phones because their wait times for pick up were up to an hour and 15 minutes and an hour and 20 minutes, while on a regular ORN night, the wait times varied between 15 to 20 minutes.

Hong said she wanted to publicly thank the volunteers who stepped up and took on more than one shift and everyone who volunteered to help make the campaign a success.

“We also greatly thank our sponsors who donated meals for our volunteers, there was also sponsors who donated coffee and donuts for our volunteers every night, as well as water and chips,” said Hong.

She said they had great community support from various organizations around Lethbridge and also businesses that provided donations to support the ORN while acquiring transportation for their staff members during their staff Christmas parties.

“Without the support from all of the individuals who volunteered for Operation Red Nose, and those who provided donations, we really could not have done it,” said Hong.

She said they were able to collect just under $15,000 from ride donations, and some larger donations from staff Christmas parties, but she did not have a total at the time she spoke with the Herald on Tuesday.

“The dollars raised will go towards the University of Lethbridge Pronghorn Athletics to be used for their programs, travel costs, administration costs, and different fees of the student athletes,” said Hong.

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