The skies over Oakland County were busy Saturday with an estimated 250 flights by aircraft of all sizes taking off with gifts for foster children across Michigan.
It’s called Operation Good Cheer, a unique charitable effort in its 48th year sponsored by the nonprofit Child and Family Services of Michigan.
Since 1971, more than 50,000 children — from infants to adults with disabilities — have received holiday presents with the help of 15,000 volunteers, including 250 pilots donating their time and aircraft to the effort. This year, they planned to reach 6,671 kids.
“I don’t think there is anything like it anywhere,” said Dean Greenblatt, co-chairman of the effort who is also on the Child and Family Services Board. “I’ve been involved for years and I have to tell you, it’s addictive. I feel guilty that it makes me feel so good to be part of something like this.
“People aren’t doing it because of a reaction to a tragic event,” he said. “But because there is something good in people.”