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America Supports You: Californians Provide Holiday Spirit

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2005 – Yellow Ribbon America, a partner in the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program, will join the National Guard Association of California and the California state legislature in paying tribute to U.S. servicemembers during a Dec. 15 celebration in Newport Beach, Calif.

Troops from both the active and reserve components will be on hand as part of "Operation Christmas for Our Troops II," a program aimed at gathering toys for the children of deployed California troops as well as DVDs and CDs for troops serving overseas.

The bipartisan, statewide campaign kicked off in early December, and the pile of donations quickly began to grow.

The program will run through Dec. 21, and anyone wishing to make a donation can drop a new, unwrapped toy or a new or used DVD at one of the organization's drop-off locations throughout the state, officials said.

"We hope to help bring a merry Christmas to all California's military and their families and to show them how much their state appreciates them and cares," said Brad White, a representative of the National Guard Association of California, who dubbed himself "chief elf in training."

"Let's show them and their families our deep appreciation for their selfless dedication and commitment to keep America safe and free and that we do value their sacrifices that they make for us every day," White said.

Last year, the effort generated more than 10,000 toys and CDs, as well as gift certificates for California military families.

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