Operation Red Nose finds enough phones for holiday season

Operation Red Nose has enough phones to operate this holiday season after their former sponsor pulled out.Operation Red Nose Winnipeg said they were in need of 100 Android phones after Bell MTS announced they would longer be a sponsor after more than 20 years, which included providing the driving service with the phones.Story continues below

“What Bell MTS and what Bell has been doing nationally is supporting mental health,” Dan McKeen, vice-chair of Bell MTS and Western Canada said.READ MORE: Operation Red Nose putting out call for smartphones after Bell MTS pulls sponsorship“So we do a tremendous amount of donations around mental health and supporting mental health and that’s the area we’re focusing on right now.”That led to the holiday driving service to put out a call for phones, so they could operate their software that connects their drivers.“Smartphones are very key to our operation,” Randy Clark, Winnipeg Operation Red Nose co-ordinator told Global News last week.“That’s how we know where you’re going, we can see every team, every person and it’s a lot easier to connect them.”The bulk of the phones were donated from CAA Manitoba, Cell Mechanics and Weed Man, Clark said Tuesday. “The balance were individual private donations.”READ MORE: Operation Red Nose provides safe ride home for over 4,000 ManitobansClark said they have a new deal for wireless services, which they expect to be finalized shortly.“So, we are back in business … the reindeer will fly again,” he said.When someone calls Operation Red Nose, a three-person volunteer driving team picks them and their guests up then drives them home in their own car.The service fields between 30 and 40 drive teams per night and up to 50 teams on New Year’s Eve. About 4,000 people use the service, which operates in December, every year.The service is by donation only, and all funds collected support youth sports in Manitoba.WATCH: Operation Red Nose putting out call for smartphones after Bell MTS pulls sponsorship