Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) has announced his third-annual "Holiday Cards for Our Troops" program in honor of the military men and women who will be away from their families during the holiday season.
The program encourages Bay Area residents to give cards to service members who are either recovering from injuries or are stationed away from their families.
McNerney will then hand deliver the cards to soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and sailors and marines at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Last year the program brought in more than 9,000 cards that included touching and personal messages of thanks.
McNerney is also partnering with local organizations to send holiday cards to troops stationed overseas.
Those cards will be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan as part of troop-support packages organized by the Pleasanton Military Families, Danville Blue Star Moms and Packed With Pride in Stockton.
"The holiday season can be a difficult time of year for the men and women who serve our country," McNerney said in a statement.
"Being away from friends, family and the comfort of tradition during the holidays is an incredible sacrifice," he said. "Thoughtful words of encouragement and support from our community can make a huge difference in boosting the morale of our brave men and women who serve our country with honor."
To participate in the program, make or purchase a holiday card, write a message of thanks to a soldier, and deliver the card to McNerney's office in Pleasanton, located at 5776 Stoneridge Mall Road, Suite 175, or in Stockton at 2222 Grand Canal Blvd., Suite 7.
Cards should remain unaddressed and the envelopes should be unsealed.