34th Annual Christmas Bicycle Giveaway
by Sheriff Ian Parkinson
It’s December. You know, as the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And that’s certainly the way we feel around here at the Sheriff’s Office. A time of giving and receiving. A time to reflect on what matters most. A time to remember those who may need a little help this time of year. This is what motivates us every year as we continue the tradition of our annual Christmas Bicycle Giveaway.
It’s hard to believe but this is our 34th year of giving away bicycles and helmets to kids in need in San Luis Obispo County. Ever since I became Sheriff, I have been honored to be a part of this program which does so much good for so many children. It started as a simple idea. To have inmates give back to their community by refurbishing bicycles which could then be given to kids who otherwise wouldn’t get a bicycle at Christmastime. And every year the program has expanded. Last year alone, we gave away more than 300 bicycles to kids.
For us, this season starts long before December. Every year starting in the summer, we put out the word to the community to donate any bicycles they may have to the bike program. These can be new bicycles, old bicycles that are not being used anymore, or ones that just need a little TLC. But I’ll be honest with you, this program has become so popular, we have people donating bicycles to us year-round.
The bikes can be dropped off at any of our patrol stations in Templeton, Los Osos, Oceano or at the Honor Farm off Highway 1 near Cuesta College. Once at the Honor Farm, the inmates immediately begin refurbishing the bikes to like-new condition. The program instills in the inmates a positive work ethic, self-respect, and a sense of worth to the community. For the past few years, we’ve had members of Bike SLO County which donates many hours to help inmates refurbish the bicycles. We receive applications for the bicycles throughout the year for children who are in need of a bicycle. As you might expect, that need increases during the holiday season.
We couldn’t continue this program without the help of our friends in the community. As I’ve mentioned, Bike SLO County lends us invaluable expertise and time to help put the bikes back in good working order. Additionally, we would like to thank the organization Rita’s Rainbows for donating money to buy bicycle helmets. Also, a big shout out to The SLO Bike Club, the Sandlot Group of San Luis Obispo, San Luis Garbage and the SLO County Health Agency. And one more thank you to the Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation, which donates time, money, and support to the cause.
This year we will be handing out bicycles on December 12 at the Sheriff’s Honor Farm. I, for one, can’t wait to see the children’s eyes light up and smiles spread across their faces when they’re getting a bicycle. It’s the best feeling.
I want to leave you with that joyous feeling as I wrap up another year of informing you about all the many happenings at the Sheriff’s Office. And with that, let me just add as a personal note, from everyone here at the Sheriff’s Office, may your holidays be safe and filled with peace, health, and much happiness.
Thank you to our Reader for their continued support!