The holiday season is some months off, but spring has its fair share of events and festivities.
Some of these events are open to the public and can involve the serving of alcohol, meaning participants might find themselves having difficulty getting home at the end.
That’s where HomeJames comes in.
HomeJames has become very popular in December, with all the holiday celebrations going on. People who fear they have overdone it in the drinking department are able to secure rides home for themselves and their passengers, while getting their vehicles home safe too.
Broadcaster Tayler Parnaby is now in charge of the program, and he has announced it will be in operation for some upcoming community events. They include the Steak and Lobsterfest put on by the Bolton and District Lions Club May 30, Rotary Club of Palgrave’s Wines of the World June 6 and the Caledon Day festivities, which will be in Caledon East June 13.
“We’ll have full service at each of the locations,” Parnaby announced.
Teams of three volunteers will be on hand at these functions. They will include a person to drive the client’s vehicle, a navigator and the third member will drive the shuttle vehicle to transport everyone back to base when the job is done.
The shuttle vehicles are an important part of the operation. During the festive season, the local car dealers have been stepping up and lending vehicles to the program for the last several years, and Parnaby was happy to report they have all announced they will have cars at the ready for the coming events.
“Every one of them,” he declared. “All eight of the dealers in Bolton are returning, and enthusiastically.”
He said he walked into one dealership and was greeted with the words, “You’re from HomeJames? We’re in!”
“We’re grateful,” Parnaby added, also observing one of the dealerships even offered to provide two vehicles.
“I can’t stress how important it is to us,” he observed. “It really speaks volumes of the awareness of HomeJames.”
Naturally, another important component of the program is the volunteers to man it. Parnaby said the volunteer pool is stretched to an extent this year, due to the upcoming Pan Am Games, but he’s hopeful they will be able to fill the demand for the coming events.
In the six years the service has been offered in Caledon, more than 2,000 drivers and in excess of 4,500 passengers have made it home safely thanks to the program.
“It’s quite a number,” Parnaby said, adding some 56,000 volunteer kilometres have been driven.
In all of that, police report there have been no mishaps related to alcohol when the program has been operating.
There were 451 people who volunteered for the program last year, and Parnaby is expecting they will pass the 500 mark by the end of this year.
“The awareness of HomeJames is pretty high,” he remarked.
There are a couple of ways to go about volunteering.
They include phoning 905-951-9000, sending an email to email@example.com or going to the website at www.homejames-caledon.ca
Written by Bill Rea