The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department once again is holding its annual Christmas Bicycle Program, which provides low-income children with a free, newly refurbished bicycle and helmet.

However, this year the department didn’t have the funding to provide helmets along with the refurbished bicycles.

But thanks to the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club and another 40 county residents who stepped up to the plate to donate to the cause, every child who receives a bike through the program also will get a helmet.

The San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club recently donated $2,130 that was coupled with individual donations from community members so helmets could be purchased, according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

With the donations that totaled $3,700 to the Christmas Bicycle Program, the department was able to purchase 500 bicycle helmets, which will be handed out with the hundreds of restored bikes.

“This year we are hoping to (hand out) somewhere around 450 bikes,” said Lt. Barry Shortz. “It seems like every year (the requests) go up by 20 to 30 bikes.”

The donated and abandoned bikes are refurbished by Sheriff’s Department Honor Farm inmates and distributed through the program during the holidays.

For more information about the Sheriff’s Department Christmas Bicycle Program or to request an application for a bicycle, call Lt. Barry Shortz at 788-2103.

Applications to receive a free refurbished bicycle and new helmet will be accepted through Wednesday, Dec. 30.

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