The 35th annual Maine State Employees’ Combined Charitable Appeal kicked off Tuesday in the State House Hall of Flags with the chairwoman telling those gathered, “It’s about Mainers helping Mainers.”

The campaign hopes to raise $300,000 from state employees and retirees. Maine Department of Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette, who is serving as chairwoman of the campaign, told those gathered that no matter the size of the individual gift, “they add up.”

Representatives from 18 federations that benefit from the campaign — which include the state’s United Way agencies — also attended the event.

“For thirty-five years, Maine State employees and retirees have shown their generosity by contributing to MSECCA. This tradition of generosity has made a lasting and tremendous impact in the lives of our local community as well as across our nation and beyond,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a news release from the governor’s office. “We in Maine are always willing to comfort and give a hand up to those in need. As Maine employees, we work together to make a difference and strengthen our beautiful state,” LePage said.

LePage joked that any donations he pledged would depend on his getting re-elected.

During its 35-year history, about $8 million has been raised through MSECCA, according to the news release. Last year, state workers and retirees showed their collaborative commitment to their communities by contributing almost $300,000 through one-time gifts or scheduled payroll/retirement deductions, according to the release.

Beginning today, state employees can contribute to the 2014 campaign online at www.maine.gov/msecca. The campaign concludes in mid-December.

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