Sheriff’s office supplies Santa with bikes

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

VIDALIA — Santa’s bag will be overflowing with bicycles this year if the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office has its way.

Each year the department collects bikes, repairs and repaints them and distributes them to needy children in the Miss-Lou.

The program began in 1990, the first year Sheriff Randy Maxwell took office as his way of giving back to the community, CPSO Spokesperson Kathleen Stevens said.

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“It has been ongoing continuously since (Maxwell) started it his first year in office,” Stevens said. “He just wanted to start something to help the children. He is a firm believer that every child should have a bike under the tree at Christmas.”

Approximately 250 to 300 bikes are given away each year. Stevens said they are distributed on a first come, first served basis, but she doesn’t remember a year in which a child on the list wasn’t able to receive a bicycle.

Each year residents donate used bicycles, and trustee inmates make the needed repairs before the bikes are picked up a few days before Christmas.

This year bikes can be picked up between Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.

“Folks just need to drop them off here and the inmates do their very best to repair them and get them looking like new,” Stevens said.

Bicycles should be dropped off at the sheriff’s office bedhind the courthouse at 4001 Carter St. in Vidalia. Bicycles that can’t be refurbished are also welcome and can be used for parts.

Stevens said monetary donations are greatly appreciated since purchasing parts and paint to repair the donated bikes can become expensive.

“We have businesses that sometimes donate hundreds of dollars, and that really helps buying a new chain or buying paint or pedals,” she said. “A lot of the bikes come in needing those sort of things so having a funds to get them helps a lot.”

Monetary donations can be mailed to Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Attention Randy Maxwell, 4001 Carter St., Vidalia, La. 71373.

Anyone wishing to sign up to receive a bicycle should do so at the sheriff’s office.

“All donations are greatly appreciated,” Stevens said. “This is a pretty big project for us and our trustees work really hard on it.

“They consider this their way of giving back to the community.”

For more information on the bike drive call the sheriff’s office at 318-336-5231