Bikes built by inmates are gifts for children in foster care

FRANKLIN COUNTY, OH (WCMH) — About 1,700 new bicycles will be given to children in foster care throughout a large part of Ohio on Christmas day. Caseworker from Children’s Services will deliver those bikes built by prison inmate along with donated toys this week to the children’s homes.

Bicycles assembled by inmates from a handful of state prisons are acting as Santa’s helpers in order to make a Merry Christmas for a lot of local children in foster care.

Inmates at the Pickaway correctional Institution in Orient put together 900 bicycles bought with private donations.

Other female inmates from the Ohio Reformatory for Women handmade bows and Christmas cards placed on the bikes handlebars, all in an effort to do their part in making children’s holiday special.

Phillip Zwiller is one of those inmates at Pickaway Correctional Institution.

“I love it, I get to come out here and do something positive and give to the kids that don’t have it as good as I did. I had a pretty rough childhood, but not as bad as some of these kids,” Zwiller said.

Kate Koch is the Founder and CEO of Bike Lady, she is also instrumental in organizing and buying the bikes.

“It is true charity! They never see the kids get the bikes. Those kids can never do anything for them, we all wake up on Christmas morning and just imagine that this matters, and it does,” said Koch.

Koch is referring to the inmates and hundreds of private donors who make this special gift of nearly $104,000 so far.

Statewide inmates from seven prisons are building bikes spread out through 45 counties. Koch said this gift means as much to the inmates as it does the children.

“Donate these bikes to the kids makes me feel like I am doing something important and getting ready for society,” said Adolphus Colbert. He is another inmate building bicycles at Pickaway Correctional Institution.

All of the bikes loaded up on Tuesday in Pickaway, ended up at the Franklin County Children’s Services where they will be given out all week to children in what organizers call a Christmas miracle. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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