SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department passed around some holiday cheer to local families in need by giving away free bicycles to children. Every single bike was fixed up by an inmate to look brand new.
When inmate Chris Kiani is fixing bikes, he's on cloud nine.
"It's definitely a lot better to be able to do something productive and do something you like doing instead of being warehoused. Here you're learning a skill, you're improving that skill, and it's a usable skill when you get out," says Kiani.
Kiani is a part of the Honor Farm program at the San Luis Obispo County Jail. He was given the opportunity to work in the bike repair shop on the Sheriff's Department property, fixing bikes that were seized by the department over the year. The main purpose is to provide rides that are as good as new to children at the annual bike giveaway.
Last year a fire burned down the old bike shop. They almost had to cancel the event this year, but everyone pulled through. and Sheriff Ian Parkinson says the inmates are much better because of it.
"It helps them learn a skill. Hopefully they can apply that skill working in a bike shop. It makes their time here well spent," says Sheriff Parkinson.
One by one inmates loaded up bikes into cars, giving families a Christmas present with no cost attached.
Lynda Gulliver and her kids received bikes today. She said, "I don't have a lot of money right now so it really is truly an amazing honor to be able to come here to the Sheriff's and receive a bike for my children."
Although it's hard work, Kiani says it's worth the effort.
"It feels good seeing all these kids here smiling and being able to help out and give back to the community," says Kiani.
About 200 refurbished bikes were available today at the Sheriff's Department. The ones that weren't given out will be delivered to various locations throughout the county.