A series of Community Appreciation Cookouts hosted by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office begins today at the Efland Ruritan Club.

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood says he hopes the cookouts will foster goodwill and understanding between the Sheriff’s Office and the community.

“This is just an opportunity for us to go to several select communities and, on a different kind of agenda, sit down and talk with our people,” says Blackwood.

While the cookouts are meant to be enjoyable, Blackwood says the department will not shy away from discussing serious topics.

“When you come out, I want you to ask the tough questions,” says Blackwood. “Whether it’s something that you’ve dealt with in the past or something that a family member has had to deal with and you’re not really clear on it, I want you to ask the tough questions.”

A full list of the cookouts can be found on the Orange County Sheriff Office’s Facebook page.