OPERATION Red Nose will return for its 17th year in the province with the focus on recruiting volunteers to transport revellers who don't want to drink and drive.
Judy Murphy, president of Safety Services Manitoba, said Operation Red Nose needs about 500 volunteers in Winnipeg and about 1,800 across the province.
"Any new volunteers are welcome," Murphy said. "The people who volunteer for Operation Red Nose are saving lives every day."
This year, with added funding from Manitoba Public Insurance ($35,000 to $90,000), more effort will be made to promote Operation Red Nose and recruit volunteers. Volunteers require a criminal background check.
"Volunteers have a good time doing this," Murphy said. "It's a lot more fun than people might initially think."
Drinkers are offered a safe ride home with the bonus of having their vehicle driven home by an Operation Red Nose volunteer. The service is provided free, with donations accepted. All money raised supports various youth sporting programs.
"Part of the reason it takes so many is that they go out in teams of three, so there's two people in the car with the client and then there's another person driving a car behind that so the other two can get back," Murphy said. "So every time one calls Operation Red Nose, that's three people out on the road."
Besides MPI, Manitoba Telecom Services supplies telecommunications for the program throughout the province. In Winnipeg, MTS cellphone users can dial #NOSE for Red Nose service.
The service starts in Winnipeg and most other communities Friday, Nov. 25 from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. and wraps up on New Year's Eve. Other participating communities are Brandon, Flin Flon, Gimli, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, The Pas and Thompson.
This season Arborg and Riverton have been added
To volunteer, go to the Safety Services Manitoba's website.