FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Sept. 19, 2013) -- Hearts and wallets unite as the Heart of Alabama Combined Federal Campaign sets its aim high to help those in need.

The CFC kicked off its fundraising efforts Sept. 16 with an agency fair and an ambitious goal of $1.15 million for this year's campaign.

Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, spoke during the ceremony and said that the focus and theme this year is to "Aim to Make Lives Better."

"CFC continues to prove that it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to contribute and make a difference in your community and in the world," he said during the ceremony. "Our mission here at Fort Rucker is 100 percent solicitation and our goal is to get as many people to participate and contribute as possible."

The CFC is the only authorized fundraising organization allowed in federal work places, and during the event people had the opportunity to visit with different charitable organizations ranging from Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts of America, legal services, Children's Hospital of Alabama and many more local charities.

"Our mission is to connect donors to those charities and help people that are in need," said Beverly Arnold, Wiregrass Area Associate for the CFC. "Without charitable organizations providing services in our community, there are so many people that would be (out of help), and so many of those needs are met through these organizations."

The event also featured a video comprised of the testimonials of Soldiers and federal employees that were helped by the contributions of the CFC and the organizations that people donated to.

"The stories in the video are compelling," said Col. James A. Laterza, Lyster Army Health Clinic commander. "They speak about how CFC charitable organizations, using (the gifts of contributors), helped people overcome life's unexpected challenges."

Those contributors come, not only, in the form of those who donate, but those who take their time to solicit and help the CFC reach its goal -- the project officers, key workers and volunteers.

"It's going to be your energy and your enthusiasm that is going to make this program a success, just like it was last year," said Mangum.

Laterza agreed.

"It will be your commitment that will have the greatest impact on our campaign's success," he said. "We are counting on you to ensure that every federal employee is informed of the benefits and the value of contributing through CFC, and I know you'll do a great job.

"The CFC has a tremendous legacy of caring and making a difference," Laterza continued. "People often stop me and ask, 'What can I do to make a difference?' I take this opportunity to ask each of us here to renew their commitment to CFC -- give whatever you can give. That's the best message."

Last year's campaign surpassed its goal of the same amount by raising $1,218,475 -- 106 percent of its intended target -- and in its 52 years of existence, the CFC has contributed almost $7 billion.

Last year nearly one million federal employees pledged more than $250 million, said Mangum, and he feels confident that this year will be no different, despite economic hardships.

"We can start here … by recognizing that this year is going to a be a difficult year to do so," he said, "but it also means the need has ever been greater. We all need to work together to achieve our goal, and everybody can help."