For Immediate ReleasePress Contact: Andrew Frankel, Public Information Officer, (510) 981-5881
COPS IN THE SADDLE GIVING TO BERKELEY FAMILIES IN NEED
Berkeley, California (Thursday, September 04, 2008) - On Wednesday morning, September 3, 2008, 18 current and retired members of the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD), University of California Police Department (UCPD) and a few guests embarked on the 24rd Annual Turkey Ride. The riders are off duty and they use their own vacation time to participate.
The Turkey Ride was conceived in 1983 when three BPD officers rode their bikes from Berkeley to South Lake Tahoe. During the venture, they talked about developing a community service related project and involve other BPD officers. They ultimately decided that they would raise money to buy food and give it to Berkeley families in need during the November and December holiday season.
In 1985, the inaugural Turkey Ride took place with seven BPD officers riding 216 miles from the Berkeley police station to Lake Tahoe in two and a half days. The group raised enough money to buy 250 turkeys and other food items to give away to community members. Since then, support for the Turkey Ride has blossomed such that over 500 baskets are given away each year.
BPD officers submit names of families in need to receive holiday baskets. Members of community groups along with BPD employees gather in front of the Ron Tsukamoto Public Safety Building to assemble the baskets, and then deliver them to families throughout the city.
The Turkey Ride has become a wonderful tradition that has involved over 100 different participants over the course of 24 years, many of whom have ridden 10 years or more.