Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., brings Christmas joy to children in foster care across Michigan. Operation Good Cheer is a program of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc.
This annual, volunteer based Christmas gift-giving program for children in foster care will once again be launching “Spirit of Good Cheer” flights and ground distribution on December 7, 2018 from Oakland County International Airport to deliver more than 20,313 gifts to 6,771 children across the state of Michigan.
Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., will once again have the amazing opportunity to team up with hundreds of kind hearted donors and volunteers, creating incredible memories for children currently residing in out-of-home placement. Children throughout Michigan will know that people care about them and are thinking about them at Christmas.
These children who participate in Operation Good Cheer are victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Through their foster care agencies, the children submitted “Wish lists” to Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., which were distributed to hundreds of individual and group donors who purchased and wrapped gifts specially chosen.
“This program would not be possible without the thousands of dedicated and committed volunteer and local partners helping others in their time of need and showing that they care. This is what the spirit of Christmas is about. People caring for and helping,” noted Sherry Brackenwagen, Administrative Director of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. “This „spirit‟ is what brings happiness and hope to thousands of Michigan’s foster care children every holiday season.”
“We are extremely grateful” she added, “to have such dedicated, longtime supporters by our side. Supporters like Pentastar Aviation, the staff at Oakland County International Airport, and air traffic controllers from all airports 5who do an exceptional job of organizing the flights, along with the outstanding work of Mike Pipia in coordinating all of the ground transportation.”
As part of Operation Good Cheer, donors are enthusiastically purchasing, wrapping, and delivering Christmas gifts to assigned locations. Donors receive a personalized “Wish List” for each child to help guide their purchases. Every child and youth participating in the program receives at least three gifts, including items such as: toys, books, clothes, bikes, and electronics.
Operation Good Cheer is a program of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. State Office (CFSM) in Okemos. CFSM has sponsored and coordinated this volunteer-driven program since its inception in 1971.
This year, more than 275 separate donor groups and individuals are participating as gift sponsors. Donors include individuals, families, employer groups, public schools and universities, and community service organizations. Every child enrolled in the program completes a “Wish List” and includes six gift choices they would like for Christmas. Donors receive a “Wish List” and purchase and wrap three packages for everychild they sponsor. Donors then deliver the gifts to designated drop-off locations.
Thirty-one trucking companies donate transportation services, including trucks and fuel.
Numerous drivers donate their time to transport gifts to the airport from 31 “pick-up” locations, in addition to outbound transport from the airport to local destinations. A collaboration of pilots, also utilizing their aircraft and fuel, will make delivery flights throughout the day to 29 airport destinations, with many making several trips. Aircraft and flights are coordinated by air traffic controllers and a team of pilots and long-time supporters. Ground transportation is coordinated by Mike Pipia of Guardian Industries.
Local social service agencies taking part in Operation Good Cheer include: Child and Family Services of the Upper Peninsula (Marquette);
Other agencies taking part include: Teaching Family Homes of Upper Michigan (Marquette); UP Kids (Houghton); Upper Peninsula Family Solutions (Negaunee);
Airports and respective receiving areas include: Sawyer International-Boreal Aviation.