For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Mary Kusmiss, Sergeant, BPD Public Information Officer , (510) 981-5780

Pedaling For Berkeley Families in Need

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, August 30, 2011) - Berkeley, California (Tuesday, August 30, 2011) – On Wednesday morning, August 31, 2011,16 current and retired members of the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD), University of California Police Department (UCPD) and six (6) support crew will embark on the 27th Annual Turkey Ride. Many of the riders use their own vacation time to participate.

This year is the second time the group will take a new route, traveling over 210 miles in three days from the Ronald T. Tsukamoto Public Safety Building in Berkeley to the cities of Calistoga, Sebastopol and finishing at Crissy Field in the City of San Francisco. The ride is a partnership with Berkeley Boosters/PAL, and our longtime sponsors including Berkeley Rotary, Safeway and Greenleaf Produce.

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 Ronald T. Tsukamoto Public Safety Building to assemble the baskets, and then deliver them to families throughout the city during Thanksgiving and the December holidays.

The Turkey Ride has become a wonderful tradition that has involved over 150 different participants over the course of 27 years, many of whom have ridden 13 years or more.