Operation Good Cheer, an annual Christmas gift-giving program for children in foster care, will once again be launching “Spirit of Good Cheer” flights on December 4 from Oakland County International Airport to deliver presents to 4,275 children throughout the state of Michigan.
Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., the program’s sponsor, continues to team with gift sponsors and volunteers to share the spirit of the season with children who are currently residing in out-of-home placements. Hundreds of volunteer workers will be on-hand at the airport on December 3 – 4 to assist with the distribution effort which includes more than 13,000 gifts being sorted and loaded for distribution to infants, children, and youth in foster care across the state. The hanger is graciously provided by Pentastar Aviation.
Gifts will be collected from designated “pick-up” locations on December 3, for their journey to the airport via donated ground transportation. On December 4, volunteer pilots will fly aircraft packed with Christmas gifts to 16 airports throughout Michigan, with supplemental ground transport taking place for local destinations. Pilots and drivers will be greeted by staff and volunteers from forty-three local social service agencies who will transfer the gifts for final distribution to children served by the agencies.
"This is an incredible undertaking that relies on thousands of volunteers and many, many local partners to make it all happen,” noted Sharon Vichcales, administrative director of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., “bringing happiness and hope to thousands of kids.”
“We are especially pleased,” she furthered, “to be working with some long-time supporters like Pentastar Aviation and Jerry Drew, the air traffic controller at the airport, who does an exceptional job of organizing the flights, along with Mike Pipia of Guardian Industries who handles all ground transportation.”
As part of Operation Good Cheer, sponsors are recruited to purchase, wrap, and deliver Christmas gifts to designated locations. Sponsors receive a personalized Wish List for each child to help guide their purchases. Each participant receives at least three gifts from their sponsor, including items ranging from CDs to bicycles and everything in between.