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Come on, it’s too easy not to help out

It’s never been easier to be a cheerleader, active civic partner and leader in your community while wearing your pajamas.

I firmly believe that everyone, no matter what their situation in life may be, can do something to better the community around them. I’ve often used this space to encourage just that.

But I’ve always done so realizing that it’s easier for some folks to get out and clean a neighbor’s ditch, pick up trash and volunteer at a local school than it is for others.

This time, everyone with an Internet connection or a phone number of someone with an Internet connection can participate.

Reader’s Digest — yes, that little magazine in the bathroom at grandma’s house — is sponsoring a nationwide contest.

It’s called “We hear you America,” and it encourages citizens to nominate their town and cast votes in favor of it.

Votes are cast by clicking on a button that says “Cheer.”

Ten towns and cities will receive cash prizes from the magazine based on vote totals.

For Reader’s Digest, it’s a promotion. It gets folks visiting their website and talking about their magazine.

But for the towns participating, it’s a shot at free money, and we all know that doesn’t come often.

A Natchez Convention Center employee added Natchez to the list, and the vote total has been steadily increasing since last week.

Despite a late start, our small city was in a respectable 114th place Tuesday afternoon.

The top 3 cities in vote count are in the money for sure, with higher money totals going to those at the top of the list. Then, a first-place award is given to the town with the most votes in its population size.

Just Thursday, Natchez ranked in the 2,000 range.

The road to the top is a long one though. Tuesday afternoon Natchez was more than 450,000 votes out of first place and 382,939 votes out of third. The website doesn’t publicly track who is leading in the population categories.

But since every person — or every e-mail address — can vote 10 times per day for the remaining 13 days of the contest, the gap certainly isn’t insurmountable.

You’ll have to login for each e-mail address in order to vote. Logging in takes less than one minute, and you can even check boxes saying you don’t want to receive any promotional e-mails or junk mail.

Then it takes all of 10 seconds to vote 10 times.

If you have an Internet connection handy, there’s no excuse not to vote 10 times a day.

If you are resisting the world’s pull to become computer savvy, I’m sure you have a relative out there who isn’t. Give them a call, ask them to “Google ‘We hear you America.’” They’ll understand what that means, trust me.

Then ask them to login with the Natchez zip code — 39120 — and vote 10 times.

The first-place town will get $40,000, second earns $25,000 and third gets $10,000.

Four more population awards will be given. Natchez could win $10,000 in the 99,999 population or less category.

The city could also win editorial coverage in the magazine — which would likely bring dozens of tourists to town.

If you are a pessimist, it’s a long shot. But what in the world does it hurt? Many of us waste hours upon hours on the Internet, why not add 10 seconds and feel good about your contribution to the community.

If we win, it’ll be up to the community to let city leaders know how we expect them to spend these dollars from the sky.

Go vote: http://wehearyouamerica.readersdigest.com/.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.


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