It is well known that freshly created ions can be picked up by a moving plasma via self-consistently excited Alfven waves, as discovered in cometary physics in the late 1980s. This paper discusses the ion pickup process in a regime very different from what has been investigated before. We show that such a process can occur inside a magnetic reconnection layer. We suggest that this process might explain the origin of solar energetic ions associated with flares. In order to demonstrate that the acceleration process is rapid and efficient, a series of numerical simulations are carried out for the parameter regime relevant to solar active regions in the lower corona. Simulation results show that not only can the newly created ions that result from ionization of neutral atoms be accelerated, but the background thermal ions can be intensely heated as well when they interact with the excited Alfven waves.