TEXARKANA, TX- Reader’s Digest has named the 50 finalists of its third annual search for “The Nicest Place in America,” a national crowd-sourced effort to uncover places where people are kind and treat each other with respect, and Texarkana tops the list in Arkansas and Texas. In an era of cultural and political divides, “Nicest Places” is Reader’s Digest’s response.
Over a submission period of 31 days, Reader’s Digest collected more than 1,000 stories of places across America where people are kind and civility is winning. From these submissions, Reader’s Digest editors and a panel of judges selected 50 places – one for every state. Now, America will vote on which of these finalists will get a cover story in the November issue of Reader’s Digest magazine. Nine others will also be featured.
“The thing that sets this competition apart from others of its kind is that Texarkana was chosen to represent two states,” David Orr, Director of Community and Planning Development for the City of Texarkana, Texas said. Orr is the individual who nominated Texarkana for the award. “In all the other states, one city was chosen, but Texarkana, in a true “twice as nice” fashion, was chosen to represent two.”
The complete stories of the finalists, along with the hundreds of other nominees, can be found at rd.com/nicest . Public voting begins today and ends on July 21st.
“This year we sifted through over 1,000 stories of places where people stick together because of kindness, and these are the best from each state,” said Reader’s Digest Editor-in-Chief Bruce Kelley. “In doing so, we learned something amazing, which is that no matter what’s going on in the news or social media, the truth is that there’s goodness all around us. We hope these stories lift spirits and inspire all of us to be better neighbors, friends and family.”
This year’s search brought in a record number of submissions with a final tally of 1,077 stories, nearly three times that of 2018.
Reader’s Digest’s 50 Nicest Places in America are:
Alabama: Drexell & Honeybees Donations Only Restaurant in Brewton
Alaska: North Pole
Colorado: Pueblo West Women’s League in Pueblo West
Connecticut: Clintonville Elementary School in North Haven
Delaware: Estates at Saint Anne’s in Middletown
Florida: The Villages
Georgia: The Fugees Academy in Clarkston
Idaho: Hidden Springs
Illinois: Fox Point in Barrington
Indiana: Lafayette Transitional Housing Center in Lafayette
Iowa: Lansing Iowa Food Trust in Lansing
Kansas: Cedar House in Abilene
Maryland: Whitehurst Community in Severna Park
Massachusetts: Chiltonville Village in Plymouth
Mississippi: Jourdan River Estates in Kiln
Nebraska: Sehnert’s Bakery in McCook
New Hampshire: Pembroke
New Jersey: Hunterdon County YMCA in Flemington
New Mexico: Las Cruces
New York: Harding Park in The Bronx
North Carolina: Sunset Hills in Greensboro
North Dakota: Watford City
Oklahoma: Country Aire Estates in Broken Arrow
Oregon: Molalla High School in Molalla
Pennsylvania: Delta Pizza in Delta
Rhode Island: Maury Loontjens Memorial Library in Narragansett
South Carolina: Lake Trollingwood
South Dakota: Rapid City
Vermont: Barre City
Virginia: Colonial Beach
Washington: Kitsap Peninsula
West Virginia: B.A.R.K. Club at Doddridge County High School in West Union
Wisconsin: The Lingonberry Llama Coffee Shop in Belleville
Wyoming: S. Chestnut St. in Casper
To determine the final 10 and the winner, Reader’s Digest editors will consider the voting tally along with the input of a panel of judges that includes David Brooks, op-ed columnist for the New York Times; Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America; and Sarah Friar, CEO of NextDoor.
Launched in 2017, the search for Nicest Places has resulted in thousands of stories of a kinder America. In 2017, the heartwarming story of the winning place, Gallatin, Tennessee, was of a growing city struggling to heal painful racial divides when faced with tragedy. In 2018, the winning place told the story of Yassin Terou, a Syrian refugee whose falafel restaurant has become an engine of kindness and charity in Knoxville.
This year, Reader’s Digest welcomes Life Extension, a global authority of nutrition, health and wellness, as the first ever sponsor of Nicest Places. In addition, Reader’s Digest is partnering with local and national organizations to drive the Nicest Places search including Nextdoor, Feeding America, Catholic Charities, BYUtv’s Random Acts, National Association of Counties, Urban Libraries Council, Kind Campaign, American Booksellers Association, Weave, and the Good News Network.
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