The United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County wants the community to show their love in the fight against poverty.

The agency kicked off its annual campaign Friday at the Serbian Centre.

After raising $5.2-million last year, officials are hoping for a little more this year and announced a goal of $5.35-million.

United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard says this year’s “Show Your Local Love” launch shows the donors involved in creating change and highlights issues such as isolation among newcomer families and seniors, childhood poverty, mental health and the need to support priority neighbourhoods.

“Some of the numbers are going in the wrong direction when it comes to low income rates in this community and we need to act now to change that,” says Goddard.

“United Way has hundreds of workplaces and volunteers supporting our annual fundraising campaign, and it’s important that they know how much they’re valued,” says Matt Brannagan, the chair of the United Way board of directors. “They’re our champions who will reach out to the community and ask people to support of United Way’s targeted strategies.”

100 percent of the money raised will stay in the community.

“That will allow us to ensure that those services and programs that are presently being offered like free counselling services, food programs and after school programs are maintained and that we can actually do a little bit more in the community,” adds Goddard.

The United Way will also hold a number of fundraising events annually around Windsor-Essex.

“If one act of local love can change a life, many supporters can improve a community and help people live better in all the ways that are important – mental health, physical, social and economic wellbeing, and creating a more inclusive community,” says Goddard.