Operation Good Cheer

A program formerly of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc.

We celebrate 50 Years of Making Christmas Wishes Come True for Children in Foster Care!

Enjoy our 50 years of Operation Good Cheer Booklet (click here)

This year we continue celebrating our 50th year of making Christmas wishes come true for foster care children in Michigan, the event dates will be Friday, December 3, 2021 for gift collections and Saturday December 4, 2021 for gift delivery. This entirely volunteer Christmas gift-giving program, sponsored and coordinated by Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., began in 1971 by individuals who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children who reside in foster care. Recipients include infants, children, teenagers, and adults with disabilities. A record 6,320 children and youth received gifts to open on Christmas morning in 2020 and since 1971 more than 100,000 participants have had their Christmas wishes come true as a result of Operation Good Cheer volunteer efforts. Thousands of generous volunteers gather annually to participate in Operation Good Cheer. Donor groups and individuals purchase and wrap Christmas gifts from a child's "Wish List". At donor sites, these gifts are picked up, loaded and transported by volunteer trucking companies and their drivers to a centrally located airport. These Pilots and drivers use their aircrafts and vehicles to transport gifts to local airports across Michigan. At each airport, agency volunteers gather the gifts and deliver them to the children and youth in foster care. This impressive display of generosity provides thousands of youth, some of whom would not receive anything otherwise, with gifts and the joy of knowing there are people who care.

Take a look at this article by AOPA: https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2019/december/09/its-all-for-the-kids



Spirit of Good Cheer

Pilots are needed to transport Christmas presents from Oakland County International Airport to airports across Michigan during our 2021 Spirit of Good Cheer flight on:

Please complete our Pilot Volunteer Application or sign up online!


Saturday, December 4th, 2021
(flights begin at 8 am).

If you would like to be a pilot for Operation Good Cheer, please complete our Pilot Volunteer Application. For additional information, please contact Operation Good Cheer headquarters at ogc@cfsm.org or call 517-349-6226.

Pilot Elves 2004 © CFSM

Pilot Elves 2004 © CFSM

Loading Santa's Plan © 2011 CFSM

Loading Santa's Plan © 2011 CFSM

Pilots share their volunteer experience in AOPA Pilot's Dec. 2008 issue. "Well before the first light of dawn had begun to give any hint of warmth to the world, the first arrivals were being sequenced down final, landing lights ablaze in the frigid air. Every minute or two, a piston twin or fast single would exit the runway at Michigan's Pontiac-Oakland County International..."

Thank you for your interest in Operation Good Cheer!

Spirit of Good Cheer Elves Take to the Sky © 2010 CFSM

"Spirit of Good Cheer Elves Take to the Sky" © 2010 CFSM

Ground Support

In our endeavor to brighten the holidays for thousands of infants, children, teenagers, and adults with disabilities, we are looking for volunteers to assist us during our 2021 Spirit of Good Cheer flight weekend. Volunteers will be needed both

Friday, December 3, 2021, and Saturday, December 4, 2021.

Please complete our Ground Crew Volunteer Application or sign up online!

For additional information, please contact Operation Good Cheer headquarters at ogc@cfsm.org or call 517-349-6226.

Saturday Loading © 2012 CFSM Saturday Loading © 2012 CFSM

"Spirit of Good Cheer Elves Take to the Sky" © 2010 CFSM

Friday - December 3, 2021

Volunteers are needed 10:00 am to 8:00 pm to help unload from ground transport vehicles close to 20,000 wrapped and bagged Christmas presents. Once gifts are unloaded, they need to be inspected and sorted by agency code. (Due to confidentiality, all recipients are assigned a code letter and number). All volunteers should report to Pentastar Aviation west of the Oakland County International Airport Control Tower. From there, you will be directed to your assigned work area. You will be asked to sign in upon arrival.

Saturday - December 4, 2021

Volunteers are needed 7:00 am to 4:00 pm (possibly later depending on weather) to help load close to 20,000 wrapped and bagged Christmas presents onto small aircraft and trucks. All volunteers should report to Pentastar Aviation west of the Oakland County International Airport Control Tower. From there, you will be directed to your assigned work area. You will be asked to sign in upon arrival.

Thank you to Pentastar Aviation for their participation in Operation Good Cheer!



In 2020...

Despite the many challenges due to COVID-19, Operation Good Cheer continued to "make Christmas wishes come true".

Thanks to the 83 foster care agencies, Operation Good Cheer was able to fulfill Christmas wishes for 6,320 foster children across Michigan. The event began on Friday, December 4, 2020. Thanks to the 289 compassionate donor groups and individuals, we had the pleasure of unloading and sorting more than 18,960 gifts that were picked up by 31 volunteer trucking companies and brought to a donated warehouse in Livonia. Watching the teamwork amongst strangers as they come together for the sole purpose of giving to these children is what Christmas spirit is all about.

Many generous companies donated trucks, fuel, and drivers to gather the Christmas gifts and bring them to the warehouse. Most of these same trucking companies and quite a few more also helped us distribute the gifts across Michigan to the children waiting. The “Spirit of Good Cheer” cruised along the highways as our volunteer truck drivers drove throughout the day to ensure that every gift was delivered to our participating agencies who were eagerly awaiting their arrival.

Overall, Operation Good Cheer 2020 was a great success. We look forward to being back at Oakland County International Airport and ready to deliver gifts both by air and by ground in 2021.



OGC Leadership & Staff

Sherry Brackenwagen, Director of Operation Good Cheer

Sherry Brackenwagen, Director of Operation Good Cheer and former Executive Director of Child and Family Services of Michigan. Sherry began her career with Child and Family Services of Michigan in 2001. Sherry has been involved with Operation Good cheer for the past 20 years and has been instrumental in the program's continued growth and success with relationships all across Michigan. Sherry now joins the Development Department of Child and Family Charities as the Director of Operation Good Cheer.

4287 Five Oaks Drive
Lansing, MI 48911
Office: 517-349-6226
Cell: 517-896-8289
sherry@childfamily.org

Quinn Clifton-O'Donnell, Development Assoicate

Quinn Clifton-O'Donnell, Development Associate. While Quinn is new to the Development world, she brings relevant experience from her work as a high school band director in Arizona, including inventory management, data collection, and organizational skills. She believes strongly in the power of information and data and utilizing that information to further the mission of Child and Family Charities. Quinn can be found formatting spreadsheets, tinkering in databases (running detailed reports), drinking coffee, writing, and cuddling with her cat.

4287 Five Oaks Drive
Lansing, MI 48911
Office: 517-816-9141
quinn@childfamily.org



Videos of Operation Good Cheer in Action



Gallery