With the official kickoff of the United Way of Southeast Arkansas fall campaign Thursday, Leslie Dorn, the executive director of the United Way talked about the importance of giving.

Speaking at Coffee with the Chiefs, sponsored by Interested Citizens for Voter Registration and held at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Service Center Tuesday, Dorn said “It’s campaign time. The local United Way consists of 14 counties to the south of us but most of the money is raised in Jefferson County and the surrounding area. All of our partner agencies provide services to all 14 counties.”

Dorn said there are three pillars or focus areas for the United Way, Health, Education and Economic Stability, all with the goal of helping our community.

“There is a local board of volunteers who this month will be asking the community to donate money to help our 21 partner agencies,” Dorn said. “We’re truly a local organization. We’re a member of the national organization but all of the decisions are made locally.”

Asked about this years’s goal, Dorn said Daniel Robinson of Simmons Bank, who is this year’s campaign chair will have the task of raising $1 million.

“It’s not easy but this community, over the past 33 years, has raised over $1 million each year,” she said.

Also speaking was Jason Duren, who also works for the United Way and who talked about last week’s Day of Service.

Duren said more than 200 volunteers came together with the goal of cleaning up and sprucing up the Coretta Scott King Center located in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. park.

In addition to improving the looks of the center, he said that one of the things that the Day of Service does is to “allow citizens to come together and to get to know each other.”

The official kick-off will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Pine Bluff Country Club.

Prompted by Dorn, Duren also introduced the campaign’s new slogan, #lovelocal.

“The theme is important because it signifies that we are responsible for our own,” Duren said.