Vicksburg takes 2nd place in McAlister’s Tea Town competition

Published 11:43 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

After more than a month of voting, Vicksburg has been named runner-up to the title of Tea Town USA.

Through McAlister’s Deli in Vicksburg, Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center brought home the second-place spot and $5,000 from the McAlister’s Tea Freaks competition.

The competition, which began June 20 and ended July 29, was among McAlister’s Delis nationwide, and each location chose a non-profit organization to support. McAlister’s of Vicksburg chose Jacob’s Ladder, and the organizations worked together to drum up local support and votes.

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Supporters then logged onto Facebook to vote for their favorite McAlister’s location, and the winner received money for the charity of its choosing.

“The whole town got really involved,” said Kathy Conway, who serves as president of the board of Jacob’s Ladder. “This is a pretty phenomenal thing for a small town.”

The 194 McAlister’s locations across the country participated, and Vicksburg ran second with 13,712 votes, according to the Facebook page.

The McAlister’s of Joplin, Mo., took home the No. 1 spot with 32,226 votes and will receive $7,500 to be donated to the Joplin Recovery Fund, set up after the town was slammed by tornadoes in May.

Ken Alexander, manager of McAlister’s in Vicksburg, was elated with being named a winner in the competition.

“It’s tickled me pink, actually,” Alexander said. “To be able to give them that money, it just feels so good.”

Alexander added that Jacob’s Ladder will receive an additional $600 from money raised at profit share nights throughout the competition.

McAlister’s participated in the competition last year, and came in 15th place, Alexander said.

No definite plans have been made about how the money will be used, though Conway said she hopes to make repairs to the building and offer some scholarships.

“Everyone pulled together and made this happen,” Conway said. “We’re just thrilled.”

She said she did not know when the money would arrive.