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How the Sheriff's Office is helping some kids get bikes for Christmas
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Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch loads a bicycle Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, as bikes are picked up or delivered as part of the annual Sheriff's Office Christmas Bike Program. The Court Services Division partners with local churches, schools, CASA, and the Gateway House to establish contact with families to participate in the program. - photo by Scott Rogers

Now in his second year in charge of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Christmas Bicycle Program, Lt. Greg Cochran said the event brings out a joy that’s hard to compare.

“I’ve seen nothing but just pure appreciation,” Cochran said. “It’s a great feeling to see it come together, whether it’s seeing the look on the family’s faces coming to get the bike that they’re going to surprise their kid with or whether it’s just seeing the child … if they get to come. It’s kind of what makes it worth everything to me.”

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Christmas Bike program

What: Free bicycles for Hall County children for Christmas or call (770) 531-7093 to sign up. Available for ages 3-12

Deadline: Dec. 11

Cochran said they expect to donate more than 100 bicycles for this year’s program, which is on par with last year’s 102 bicycles.

In 2019, 27 families were helped, and 23 foster children got wheels of their own. 

The program, which started in 1997, typically receives funding through events such as the Show and Shine.

“The community has really stepped up, and we’ve got some good donations to help with that,” Cochran said.

The lieutenant said a good amount of funds were left over from last year to help cover the costs of this year’s event.

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“We’re not going to have to buy as many bikes as we normally have because we have some bikes left over from last year,” Cochran said. “Toys for Tots helped us out with some bikes last year and this year, so we’ve already got a good (amount) of bikes already in our possession, not counting the ones we’ll purchase with the donations.”

The one major change will be doing the bike distribution over at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters at 2859 Browns Bridge Road instead of the courthouse. In years past, families have had to go through the courthouse parking garage to get their bicycles loaded into their vehicles with the help of some deputies.

Cochran said the headquarters allows for an easier process and less traffic congestion.

The deadline to register to get a bicycle is Friday, Dec. 11. Distribution usually occurs the week before Christmas.

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