Without Operation Red Nose, Surrey and Langley Might Not Have a Holly Jolly Christmas This Year

The non-profit organization is more than a service provider; it’s a necessity

Epifania Alarcon

It’s almost that time of year again—the smell of cinnamon and spice lingers in the air, golden light reflects off ornaments on evergreen trees, and the sounds of carolers fills our ears.

For some people in Surrey and Langley, however, their holiday plans might end at a red light.

Operation Red Nose is a non-profit organization which, during the holiday season, provides free rides to people who have been drinking or are too tired to drive home. Unfortunately, the organization recently announced that they will be unable to offer services to Surrey and Langley this year, as the group that usually provides them with their volunteer drivers is unable to commit to doing so.

You would have to be a real Grinch to undervalue the work of Operation Red Nose. According to ICBC, “3,747 dedicated volunteers across 12 B.C. communities gave 5,448 rides to get people and their vehicles home safely while raising $150,674 for their local charities” as a result of the non-profit’s efforts last year.

While I commend the phenomenal work that Operation Red Nose continues to provide—not just in British Columbia, but across Canada—the fact that it cannot be offered in Surrey and Langley this year is a serious detriment to people in those municipalities engaged in holiday festivities.

In a recent CBC Vancouver article, Operation Red Nose spokesperson Chris Wilson said that the “Langley-based gymnastics group that operated the service in Surrey-Langley was responsible for assembling a team of volunteers … [and] it’s too late for another group to step in and save the program in the area this year, but there’s plenty of time to get organized for the next holiday season.”

Well that’s great and all, but what about the 2017 Christmas season?

The spokesperson said that there wasn’t enough time to find another group to take over this year’s operations, but this is an annual event. They knew that it was approaching all year and should have been better prepared for issues like this.

In the same CBC Vancouver story, Wilson explained that “volunteers from neighbouring communities might be able to organize rides from Surrey and Langley,” but cautioned that service will likely be inconsistent.

Still, inconsistent service is better than having no service at all. Surrey and Langley are geographically huge cities with high populations, but the quality and availability of their transit and taxi services is poor. Without Operation Red Nose, the countless people going to Christmas parties this year will likely struggle to find a ride home while feeling a mix of frustration and intoxication this holiday season.

While it’s never a good idea to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, unfortunately, some people will chose to do so. Through the thousands of rides that it has provided to B.C. residents, Operation Red Nose has undoubtedly prevented lives from being lost during the most joyous time of the year.

Even the saving of one life should be enough for them to continue their work in all communities, including Surrey and Langley.

To become a volunteer, log in to the Operation Red Nose website and download an application form.

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