The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office will hold its 31st Christmas Bicycle Giveaway.

With pretty much all American traditions put on hold this year due to the coronavirus pandemic response, there’s at least one local holiday tradition that will happen.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office will for the 31st year in a row, hold its Christmas Bicycle Giveaway, and the department is currently asking for donations of bikes and money.

“This program,” Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said, “was set up 31-years ago to promote the holiday spirit by giving away refurbished bicycles and new helmets to children in need in San Luis Obispo County. Due to the generosity of the people of this County, the program has continued to be a big success.”

The County Honor Farm is the assembly point for donated bicycles in need of repair. Honor Farm inmates repair the bikes in a program that “instills in the inmates a positive work ethic, self-respect and a sense of worth to the community,” Cipolla said.

Because of all the virus restrictions, the program is short on new bikes, parts and accessories. “We are seeking the public’s help by asking for new bicycles, new helmets or monetary donations for replacement parts,” Cipolla said. “Individuals and businesses who wish to donate new children’s bicycle helmets in their original packaging can bring the helmet to any of the Sheriff’s Office Patrol stations or to the Honor Farm located (on Oklahoma Avenue) off Highway 1.”

Cipolla noted that they accept adult bicycles but prefer children’s bicycles, which are in high demand.
To make a monetary contribution to buy parts or helmets, send a check to: Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation, Attn: Bicycle Fund, P.O. Box 3752, San Luis Obispo, CA 93403.

If readers know a youngster, 15-under, who needs a bike, they can email to: sh-bikereports@co.slo.ca.us and request a Christmas Bicycle Application or go online to: slosheriff.org and click on “Resources” at the top of the homepage, and then “Forms and Applications” on the drop-down menu. All applications are due by Nov. 25.

The Sheriff’s Office will have just one day this year for the bike giveaway, starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Honor Farm, 880 Oklahoma Ave. Facemasks and social distance guidelines will be in effect.

Cipolla said, “The Sheriff’s Office could not continue this program without the help and generosity of groups like Rita’s Rainbows which donates money to buy bicycle helmets, Bike SLO County which donates many hours to helping inmates refurbish the bicycles, The Sandlot Group of San Luis Obispo for donating new bikes, and the Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation which donates time and money to the cause.”