The Rotary Club of Fort Saskatchewan has wrapped up their 12th annual Operation Red Nose.
 
While the club was pleased with another year of helping residents get home safely, their numbers were down significantly from 2017.
 
"The economy is down," said Stew Hennig, president of the Rotary Club of Fort Saskatchewan. "I don't think there were quite as many people out and about on the regular weekend nights."
 
A total of 96 rides were given throughout the 11-night program. In 2017, the volunteers gave 135 rides.
 
New Year's Eve accounted for 31 of those rides last year. Similarly, there were 35 rides given on New Year's Eve in 2017.
 
"So, that in itself says that people did go out on the big special occasions, but may have spent a little more time staying at home, visiting friends and not requiring the drive home that they have in the past," Hennig said.
 
There were 49 volunteers that handled the 123 volunteer spots over the weeks 12 of those volunteers participating for the first time. The volunteers drove 1,724 km in total, which is a 61 per cent drop from 2017.
 
The average ride donation they received was $30, similar to what it has been in previous years. All of the money the program raised will be going towards local community groups that work with youth.
 
"Everything went well and we're looking towards next year as hopefully being able to build it back up again," Hennig added.
 
The Rotary Club is accepting funding requests from community groups who want to be considered for grants from the 2018 Operation Red Nose proceeds. The club will accept requests until January 31.

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