DEARBORN - As the holiday season continues to spread, and children around the world are sending their letters to Santa in the hopes of receiving the items that top their wish lists – such as bikes, an Xbox 360 Kinect or the latest Rick Riordan novel, Son of Neptune – Ford is helping to make some of those wishes come true.
Started in 1971 by a small group of Ford employees, Operation Good Cheer – sponsored and coordinated by Child and Family Services of Michigan (CFSM) – continues to deliver gifts to children and adults in foster care throughout the state of Michigan.
"A small team of employees wanted to do something other than exchange gifts and they didn't just want to give money to the state," said Wendy Williamson, legal assistant, Ford, and Operation Good Cheer caretaker and leader for World Headquarters. "The employees called the state and asked them to ask the children what they wanted for Christmas – and that's how "Wish Lists" were formed."
More than 5,000 children are a part of the Operation Good Cheer program this year, and Ford will be providing gifts to about 2,000 children. Each child fills out a "Wish List" of six gifts and their matched donor selects three items to purchase for the child.
This past week, CFSM presented an award to Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford for the company's contributions to the program.
"Operation Good Cheer wouldn't be possible if we didn't have wonderful members like Ford as partners to help out," said Sharon Vichcales, administrative director, CFSM. "Without you and the generosity of the Ford employees, this wouldn't happen. We need you, we appreciate you and we're so glad to partner with you over these past 40 years."
Before accepting the award, Ford thanked those in attendance for participating in the program and continuing to make a difference, citing it as one of the most important things employees can do.
“This company is amazing, anytime we have a need anywhere our people step up. I think it's what makes us a different kind of company and a very special company. It's not the cars and trucks we make, it’s the people that we have."