Thirty-four brand new bicycles, helmets and locks were delivered to Guernsey County Children Services Thursday for distribution to children with a history of abuse, neglect and abandonment who are served by county child protective services.
The special delivery was made by Santa Claus and Special Response Team officers from Noble Correctional Institution where the bicycles were assembled by inmates earlier this week.
"It is extremely important for offenders to have an opportunity to give back to the community, and having the staff and offenders work side by side is good for the community," said NCI Warden Tim Buchanan. "And then to have the tactical team deliver the bikes to the community brings it full circle.
"Everybody wins," added Buchanan.
The NCI team also delivered 26 bicycles to
This is the second year Noble Correctional Institution participated in the Bike Lady Inc. under the direction of Kate Koch.
The bicycles, ranging in size from those for toddlers with training wheels to mountain bikes, are then distributed by the Guernsey County Children Services agency.
"This is amazing," said Executive Director Nicole Caldwell. "The kids who come to use have been through a whole lot and for the community to support the effort to help these kids is amazing. These kids go through a lot with the transition, so every little thing helps."
Bike Lady Inc. was formed by Koch in November 2008 as an impromptu holiday bike-a-thon and was incorporated in January 2009. It operates as a 100 percent all-volunteer, non-profit agency with no salaries and minimal overhead.
Bike Lady distributes only new bicycles — no previously owned, used or refurbished bikes. Bike Lady purchases bikes directly from Huffy Bicycles through its charitable program realizing 50 percent cost savings over retail prices.
According to Koch, all of the proceeds raised goes to bikes, helmets and locks with minimal organizational overhead that is underwritten by a single donor. The funding goal is $110,000 annually.
The goal for 2017 was bicycles for 1,700 kids in 43 counties with 10 prisons assembling bikes.
The Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation make an in-kind donation of $18,000 in helmets through a grant administered by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The average cost per child served is $65 for a bicycle, helmet and lock.
This year, Kroger Company provided tote bags for the accessories. The company used its own tractor-trialers to transport bicycles in southwest Ohio.
The Pickaway Correctional Institution Print Shop printed safety information distributed with each bicycle.
Twenty offenders at NCI assembled 113 bicycles during the day Tuesday. The parade of bicycles to the warehouse at NCI featured 113 inmates — one for each bike.
The following is a look at how the bicycles were distributed in the region:
• Guernsey County, 34
• Noble County, 26
• Washington County, 18
• Muskingum County, 16
• Morgan County, 10
• Monroe County, 6
• Belmont County, 3
Sisters in the Tapestry Program at the Ohio Reformatory for Women made big bows and greeting cards for the bikes and recipients, respectively.
Anyone interested in the helping with Bike Lady Inc. can contact Koch, 614-946-6463; email@example.com; or www.bikelady.org.