Program bringing gifts and holiday cheer to kids who need it most


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – On the first weekend of December, thousands of gifts landed in airports across the state, destined for foster children served by Samaritas and other health and human services organizations, thanks to a huge volunteer effort coordinated by a very important program. Operation Good Cheer, a program of Child and Family Services of Michigan since 1971, focuses on ensuring a happy Christmas for children in foster care, group homes and residential treatment. Samaritas is one of nearly 70 agencies statewide that participated in Operation Good Cheer.

In Grand Rapids, 170 – 180 kids will receive gifts, which arrived at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Saturday, December 3rd. Staff graciously greeted pilots with thank you gifts and talked about their experiences as they unloaded the planes. Thanks to Members of the Teamster Horsemen Motorcycle Association who worked with Samaritas staff and families to unload the gifts at the airport. Once the donated truck was filled with gifts, everyone spent the rest of the day sorting and organizing the gifts to ensure every child had at least three gifts from their wish list.

Staff hosted an open house on December 6th for foster parents and relative caregivers to pick up gifts. Gifts will also be delivered to homes by staff members. Samaritas is dedicated to making Christmas brighter for foster children and both their foster and birth families. Last year, Operation Good Cheer served more than 5,000 children statewide.

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