The spirit of Christmas was in the air as Correctional Officer Dennis Lovett and offenders assigned to the Shifting Gears bicycle program painstakingly repaired and shined bikes until they glistened in preparation of a holiday deadline set by PCF Superintendent Stanley Knight.
"I want to donate 24 bicycles to children for Christmas," Knight told the staff.
Elementary school students received pumpkins in October, and now Correctional Sgt. Gary Goss, Lovett and Correctional Officer Paula Burns were delivering the bikes.
Putnamville also made Christmas a little brighter for the clients of Holy Cross St. Vincent de Paul Church in Indianapolis by donating 25 bikes that will be used as transportation to and from work, for medical appointments and various other activities.
"On behalf of the homeless and struggling poor, we thank you ... as do many women, especially those who get off work at midnight," volunteer Maureen Mclean said. "Even after this delivery, we still have 65 people on a waiting list for more bikes."
"This isn't about Putnamville," Knight said. "It's about the personal gratification that comes with helping others."
Putnamville extends its appreciation and thanks to Jennifer Walters, Corey Brackney, Central and Cloverdale elementary school administrators and Connie Szabo Schmucker with BGI for their assistance.
The Shifting Gears program is a joint venture between Putnamville, Prison Enterprise Network (PEN) and Bicycle Garage of Indy (BGI).
To date, more than 663 bicycles have been refurbished and donated to state and county agencies and community organizations for use by ex-offenders and the private sector.