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It all began in 1971, a group of individuals wanted to make a difference in the lives of foster care children during the Christmas season by buying them gifts to open on Christmas day. This act grew into Operation Good Cheer, Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. (CFSM)‟s annual all-volunteer gift giving program. Since then, the program has fulfilled Christmas wishes for thousands of children and youth across Michigan. Year after year, Operation Good Cheer continues to enhance lives, in-crease self-esteem, and establish a sense of belonging for the children we serve.
About the Children- The recipients of gifts through Operation Good Cheer are victims of abuse, abandonment, and neglect and have been removed from homes where their caretakers were unable or unwilling to keep them safe and loved. Many of these children have never received Christmas gifts before. The program aims to do more than pro-vide gifts to the children: it strives to give them a sense of self-importance and belonging. In receiving gifts, the children who have feelings of loss and abandonment due to their previous experiences are reminded that there are people out there who care for and love them.
The Spirit of Giving- Operation Good Cheer owes its success to the big hearts of the donors who participate. Throughout the holiday season, generous individuals, groups, and companies contact CFSM to sign up to sponsor a child. Each donor receives the child’s Wish List. The Wish List describes six items the child would like to receive to serve as a guide for the donors as they shop for gifts. Donors also learn the child’s first name, last initial, physical description, and additional details, such as hobbies and personality traits, that may help them in finding an appropriate gift. The donors wrap their gifts and drop them off at designated locations. After the holidays, donors receive a personal Thank-You Note from the child they sponsored.
The Spirit of Good Cheer- The first weekend of December, CFSM collaborates with hundreds of volunteers to pick up, sort, and distribute the gifts to the children in time for the holidays. Transportation companies volunteer their services to pick up the gifts that were dropped off by donors and deliver them to Oakland County International Airport. There, ground crew volunteers unload and sort the gifts ac-cording to their destination. The following day, known as the “Spirit of Good Cheer” flight and ground distribution, more volunteers re-load the gifts onto trucks and airplanes for their journey to their final destinations. Volunteer truck drivers and pilots drive and fly the gifts to awaiting agencies. The gifts are then distributed to the children through the agencies. More than 15,000 gifts are opened at Christmas thanks to the generous donors and volunteers. After the holidays, the recipients of gifts send personalized Thank-You Notes to CFSM that are matched to the donor and forwarded.
- Over 6,000 children will need donors in 2018 - Each child may be sponsored by an individual donor, or by a donor group such as a family or company - Your generosity benefits a child who will show their appreciation with a Thank-You Note
- Operation Good Cheer invites volunteers for its ground crew in December. Please contact CFSM if you will be bringing any children under the age of 10 to volunteer. - Volunteer pilots and truck drivers are needed to fly and transport gifts across the state for the “Spirit of Good Cheer” flight and ground distribution
- Contact CFSM if you would like to donate much needed supplies such as wrapping paper, tape, or clear plastic bags - CFSM is happy to receive monetary donations for Operation Good Cheer at any time during the year