Project D.E.F.T., Don't Ever Forget Them, will accept Christmas cards to be given to veterans who are in hospitals or living in care facilities.

Marty Pay of Marty Pay Insurance Agency will continue collecting the cards for what could possibly be a final year.

"Anything with kids and veterans is my thing," Pay said.

According to Pay, Project D.E.F.T. has been operating solely in Tehachapi for the past two years.

"The first year, we got 9,000 cards, and we received about 6,500 cards in Tehachapi last year," Pay said.

Project D.E.F.T. was originated by a former Bakersfield woman, Lynda Smith, in 2006. Smith's two brothers were Vietnam veterans, so the cause was near and dear to her heart.

When Pay heard about the project, the Marine veteran decided to join in by collecting Christmas cards locally.

"We take the cards to the nursing home, and they will put them on their lunch trays," Pay said. "For a lot of these guys, they are not getting anything, and they are not seeing anybody for Christmas, and all of a sudden, here is a card from somebody they don't know. To me, this is very heartwarming."

Local folks who want to help Pay in his quest to collect Christmas cards for veterans can drop them off at his office, located at 212 W. F St., by Nov. 1.

Cards should contain a personal greeting, such as "Thank you for your service." Pay asks that they do not contain anything political or religious in nature, and be signed with a first name only. Also, cards should not have glitter on them.

"A lot of these veterans still have open wounds," Pay said, explaining the no glitter policy.

Cards should be unsealed and without postage.

"We actually go through every card, because it is amazing what some people come up with, bad and good. The simpler, the better," Pay said.

According to Pay, the bulk of donated Christmas cards went to Veterans Affairs hospitals throughout California.

Pay will also collect donations to assist with postage.

"Everybody knows somebody in a nursing home, and we have all seen the life it is. This adds a little joy for these servicemen and women... letting them know that we appreciate them and we know that they are still around and we are not forgetting them," Pay said.

For more information, call Marty Pay at 822-3737.