It’s a time for celebrating, and sometimes, alas, going too far when it comes to consuming alcohol.
But another local tradition has already started for the season, and that’s HomeJames. And once again, local car dealers are stepping up to help, both by promoting the program and by supplying shuttle vehicles.
Anyone who thinks their ability to drive is impaired, for whatever reason, is welcome to call 905-951-9000 anytime between 9 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. nights the service is in operation.
Teams of HomeJames volunteers will be dispatched to the client’s location. The team usually consists of a designated driver to drive the client’s vehicle, a person to drive the shuttle vehicle and a navigator to also handle communications.
“The objective is to make the holiday season safer for all by providing residents of Caledon and their immediate neighbourhoods with an alternative to drinking and driving and avoiding the often tragic consequences,” observed HomeJames Caledon Chairman Tayler Parnaby.
The need for shuttle vehicles points directly to the significance of the contributions of the car dealerships, as the volunteer teams have to get to the clients.
The dealerships see the contribution as part of giving back to the community, or “being a good community supporter,” in the words of James McMillan, sales manager at Bolton Chevrolet, Buick and GMC.
“We’ve been involved right from the start,” he added. “It’s a good program.”
McMillan added customers of theirs take part in the program too. They live locally and appreciate the additional support.
Bolton Nissan has been taking part in HomeJames for about four years, helping to supply the shuttle vehicles.
“For the safety of the community,” explained General Sales Manager Kuljit Batra. “We want people to reach home safe.”
“We are absolutely firm believers in the program, as are our customers,” commented Chris Holmes, general sales manager at Bolton Honda, who added if the program is short of volunteers, they help the organizers look for a driver.
“I think it’s a fantastic program,” he added, pointing out it creates another reason not to drink and drive. “More communities should do it.”
Shawn Vassallo, sales manager at Caledon Chrysler, agreed contributing to the program is another way to “help the local community.”
He added the owner of the dealership believes in supporting the community.
“He figures, give back to the people who gave to him,” Vassallo said.
Terry Moysey, service manager at Bolton Hyundai, agreed the safety aspect is important, as well as contributing to the area. “Be part of the community,” he said.
The program ran 14 nights over the holidays last year, including New Year’s Eve. There were 404 calls responded to over those 14 evenings, according to figures provided by program organizers, and volunteers travelled 12,753 kilometres and carried 903 passengers. Not surprisingly, New Year’s Eve was the busiest night, with 71 calls. The 41 volunteers on deck that night travelled 2,239 kilometres to get 174 people home.
Over the 14 nights, there were a total of 386 volunteers, working out to an average of 27.6 people per shift.
The most important stat from last year was provided by Caledon OPP.
They reported last year there were no fatalities or injuries resulting from drinking and driving the nights HomeJames was operating.
Written by Bill Rea