Tomorrow morning, current and retired members of the Berkeley Police Department will embark on the 24th Annual Turkey Ride.
The riders are off-duty, reports Officer Andrew Frankel, "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 [that would] 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." Later, Frankel explains, "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."