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EDGE Partnerships Release | Christmas Arrives by Airplanes and Truckloads from Operation Good Cheer

Michigan Business Beat
November 23, 2022 7:00 AM

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for Thousands of Michigan Foster Kids 

 Lansing, Mich. - November 22, 2022 - Child and Family Charities shares the incredible opportunity of teaming up with 93 social service agencies and hundreds of generous donors, volunteers, and pilots, creating memories for over 6,600 children currently residing in out-of-home placement all across Michigan.

Operation Good Cheer is a program of Child and Family Charities. 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 3, 2022, from Oakland County International Airport to deliver 20,000 gifts to over 6,600 children across the state of Michigan. Through this program, foster children throughout Michigan will know that people care about them and are thinking about them this Christmas.  

The children who participate in Operation Good Cheer are victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Through their foster care agencies, each child in the program creates a “Wish List" with six gift ideas they would like for Christmas. Child and Family Charities distributes their lists to hundreds of individual and group donors who purchase and wrap the gifts specially chosen for each individual child. Every child and youth participating in the program receives at least three gifts, including items such as toys, books, clothing, bikes, and electronics. The gifts are then taken to drop-off locations to await transportation to Oakland County International Airport in Waterford.  

On Friday, December 22022, the gifts will be collected from 36 “pick-up” locations where they will make their journey to the Oakland County International Airport via donated ground transportation. The hangar, graciously provided by Pentastar Aviation, will have hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers on-hand at the Oakland County International Airport throughout the two-day period to assist with sorting and loading 20,000 gifts for distribution to infants, children, and youths across the state of Michigan. All distribution flights and local ground transport will depart from Oakland County International Airport on Saturday, December 3, 2022. The "Spirit of Good Cheers" flights are coordinated with Oakland County International Airport, air traffic controllers from several airports, and ground transportation coordinated by many others.  

All distribution flights and local ground transport will depart from Oakland County International Airport on Saturday, December 3, 2022. The "Spirit of Good Cheers" flights are coordinated with Oakland County International Airport, air traffic controllers from several airports, and ground transportation coordinated by many others. Hundreds of dedicated volunteer pilots will fly their own aircraft, which will be filled to capacity with Christmas gifts to 36 airports throughout Michigan. Also, supplemental ground transport will take place for local destinations. Pilots and drivers will be greeted by staff and volunteers from the local participating social service agencies.  

“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, Director of Operation Good Cheer with Child and Family Charities. “This ‘spirit’ is what brings happiness and hope to thousands of Michigan's foster care children every holiday season. We are grateful for local support as well—thanks to The Clean Team, we have a place to process local donations for distribution throughout the state!”  

This year, 245 separate donor groups are participating as gift sponsors. Donor groups include individuals, families, employer groups, public schools and universities, and community service organizations. The trucking companies will donate transportation services, including trucks and fuel. Numerous drivers donate their time to transport gifts to the Oakland County International Airport “pick-up” locations, in addition to outbound transport from the airport to local destinations. A collaboration of pilots, also utilizing their own aircraft and fuel, will make delivery flights throughout the day to 36 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.  


Child and Family Charities is a local nonprofit organization with over 110 years of service in mid-Michigan offering child welfare, behavioral health, juvenile justice, residential, prevention, intervention, and advocacy programs for children, youth and families. We are excited to add Operation Good Cheer to our programs and services that include: Foster Care; Adoption Placement & Post Adoption Support Services; Independent Living; Mental Health Counseling, Substance Abuse Treatment, and Adolescent Assessment Services; Teen Accountability Court—a peer-guided diversion program for first-time youth offenders; T.E.A.M. Attendance-keeping kids in school; Angel House—residential program for young women in Independent Living program through Foster Care; Child Abuse Prevention Services (CAPS)—which provides respite child care, Medicaid outreach, and SNAP nutritional education; Gateway Youth Services—helping at-risk youth through residential, crisis and independent living services.  

For more information, go to the agency website at www.childandfamily.org or call Sherry Brackenwagen at 517-349-6226. 

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