3. December 2011 16:24
It's going to be a nice Christmas for 779 foster children statewide in the care of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, 102 of them in West Michigan. On Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, workers from LSSM's Grand Rapids office joined with staff from Catholic Charities to unload small planes delivering "Operation Good Cheer" gifts from Oakland County International Airport in Pontiac to Gerald R. Ford International Airport. A large number of wrapped presents arrived Friday night on a Steelcase corporate airplane.
Operation Good Cheer was started by a group of Ford Motor Company employees in 1971, when they pooled their money normally spent on Christmas cards and instead put it toward buying gifts for 66 children. Today, Operation Good Cheer is coordinated and sponsored by Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., based in Okemos. The program this year will benefit 4,589 children, teens and adults with disabilities who are in foster care, residential treatment, and group homes sponsored by 48 private child and family social service programs. Planes flew gifts to 17 airports, and trucks delivered to destinations closer to Pontiac.
PHOTO: L-R, LSSM's Grand Rapids staffers Joan Lutke and Angie Henry take presents from Herb, a pilot who flew them to Grand Rapids, assisted by Jonah, the son of program director Laura Mitchell.