A number of children across the region who may have otherwise gone without a holiday gift will be getting some holiday cheer thanks to a longtime program continuing inside the walls of Folsom State Prison and the support of area service clubs, including the Folsom Moose Lodge and the Cameron Park Rotary Club. 

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On Friday Dec. 15, officials with Folsom State Prison, Rotary and the Moose Lodge will gather outside the main gates of Folsom State Prison to distribute some 200 refurbished bicycles. The bicycles will be picked up by various non-profits and groups who have teamed up with the program to deliver them to children in need through various events. 

The Folsom State Prison bicycle donation is a Christmas tradition that began back in 1986. Bicycles are donated throughout the year and are refurbished by incarcerated people in the workshop of the prison. 

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“The bicycle rehab program at FSP is incredibly beneficial to participants by giving them an opportunity to give back,” Folsom State Prison Warden Tracy Johnson said following last year’s distribution day. “We treasure this partnership with our community and truly enjoy seeing the hard work of so many people make a difference.

This year, a single incarcerated person rehabbed all 200 bicycles, according to Lt. Chad Deal of the California Department of Corrections. The bicycles are collected year round by prison officials and others throughout the community. Many bicycles are used for parts to refurbish others in bad shape, others that just need tires or simple parts are serviced and shined up for resuse. In the end, the bicycles are nearly like brand new. 

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Parts and supplies to rehab the the bicycles are furnished through the Cameron Park Rotary, something that was started over 20 years ago when longtime Rotarian and Moose member Joe Ryan and has continued ever since. 

“I look forward to this event every year and it really gets better and better,” Ryan said following the load up of the bikes last year. “From the bicycles seeing a new life to the many people it touches during collection, coordination and distribution, this program is a win-win.”

The event will begin at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15 as the different organizations pick up the bicycles and then spend much of the days after distributing them to children as well as some adults in need. 

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For those wishing to donate bikes to the annual program, donations can be dropped off at the main prison gates on weekdays.

Above photo (CDCR): Warden Tracy Johnson is pictured with Joe Ryan of Cameron Park Rotary and others involved with the annual Folsom Prison Bike Program at the most recent distribution.

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Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan