Employees at General Motors and Ford Motor Co. took a break from selling cars last weekend to play Santa Claus.
Thousands of employees from both companies took part in Operation Good Cheer, a volunteer-run, holiday gift giving program that benefits children in foster care.
The project was started in 1971 by Child and Family Services, Inc. of Michigan to make sure that everyone in the state�s foster system, from infants to adults with disabilities, gets a special gift for the holidays.
Here’s a video from last year’s Operation Good Cheer when gifts were unloaded at Child & Family Charities in Lansing, MI…
(Source: Child and Family Charities Facebook)
Taking part in Operation Good Cheer has been an annual tradition for Ford employees since the program started and GM came on board in 2015. Every employee who chooses to participate gets a profile of a foster child and is asked to buy three gifts on their list.
Then, the gifts are brought to an airport hangar on tractor trailers where they�re sorted by volunteers and loaded on to Santa�s �sleighs”; i.e. small airplanes that will fly out to participating foster care agencies across the state the next day.
This year, more than 250 airplanes took about 21,000 gifts to 29 airports across Michigan, making it the busiest day of the year for the Oakland County International Airport in Waterford Township. More gifts are transported by ground on trucks and trains.
Samaritas, the largest private provider of foster care in Michigan, is one of the many agencies that helps to organize Operation Good Cheer each year.
�The holidays are especially hard for children in foster care because they are away from parents and siblings,� Laura Mitchell, executive director of foster care for Samaritas, said. �It feels great for our staff and volunteers to do this for our children, so they have gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.�
While the companies are usually in competition for the top spot in the automobile market, volunteers from both organizations worked side-by-side on Friday to load thousands of toys on to planes.
�There�s no competition in community,� Sean O�Sullivan, GM�s volunteer operations officer, told WCRZ. “We�re looking beyond who�s selling the most cars and SUVs and looking to help these kids in foster care.�
Now that, my friends, is a true example of the magic of Christmas.
If you would like to take part in Operation Good Cheer, either as a volunteer, pilot or individual donor, you can find more information here. Let�s #StartSomethingGood together.
(Source: images Operation Good Cheer Facebook)