Operation Red Nose has finished offering rides for revellers for another holiday season, raising thousands for local kids’ sports groups.
Organizers confirmed that around $2,500 in tips and donations were received through the rides over this year’s campaign, around a 20 per cent boost from last year.
This year, the group organized drives through eight nights throughout December, with 95 people volunteering to take part as drivers. In total, those drivers did 100 drives on those eight nights, getting people home safely in their own cars - drivers take anyone using the service home in their own car and park it at their home, using a tail driver to take the original driver back to the base.
That number is far above the average seen in larger centres like Winnipeg - in 2022, Red Nose drivers in Winnipeg offered around 600 rides throughout the winter campaign, just six times the total ridership for a city more than 160 times the size of Flin Flon.
While the drives are free, donations are requested, with the proceeds going to local youth sports programs. Organizations like Flin Flon Minor Hockey and the Phantom Lake Soccer Club have received funding from the campaign in the past, along with the Aqua Centre Community Committee and other recreation groups.
Red Nose campaign chair Ted Hewitt said that the donations from people who used the service aren’t the only source of funding that will come in - thousands of dollars in donations from provincial and local businesses and sponsors are anticipated to come in, potentially pushing the pool of money raised around $10,000, possibly more.
“With additional donations from area businesses and throughout Manitoba we expect to net in excess of $10,000 this year,” said Hewitt. Hewitt will not be returning as the local chair for Red Nose next year, having held the spot for several years already, but the service will continue and new chairs for next year have already been appointed - Alison Dallas-Funk and Colleen Tower will do the job.
“We are planning to provide the service again next year,” Hewitt said.