There are eight days left to vote for Tuscaloosa in the McAlister’s Deli Tea Town USA contest. As stated on the official voting website, teatownusa.com, the town with the most votes and bonus points will win $7,500. As of today, Tuscaloosa is currently ranked No. 4 with just under 10,000 votes.
“We could definitely win,” said Britt Marshall, general manager of McAlister’s in Tuscaloosa. “I really believe Tuscaloosa can win the competition; we got a slow start, but the reality of it is that we were all the way down in 19th place two weeks ago, and now we’re in fourth. I don’t have any doubt that we can still win this.”
Anyone can vote once daily by visiting the website. Project Team Up is the chosen non-profit organization that the funds will go towards. The organization’s purpose is to help rebuild communities that received heavy tornado damage.
Marshall said they have received support from the UA Athletic Department and Alumni Association, contributing to more involvement.
Though the student population is smaller over the summer than in the fall and spring semesters, there has been student participation in the contest. Much of the push for student involvement has been led by juniors Christian Smith, Collins Todd and David Wilson.
“The biggest thing is that we do as well as we possibly can and get a higher cash prize for tornado recovery,” Wilson, a marketing and finance major, said. “Objective number one is to get as much money as we possibly can for tornado recovery.”
Todd, an accounting major, said, “My hopes are that the people of Tuscaloosa – more importantly, the students at the University – will realize just how easy it is to help Tuscaloosa. With the tornado affecting the community right around the campus, students have been trying to get involved in relief efforts like volunteering and such. This is the easiest way for us to help. Since we are students and don’t have enough money to donate to the relief efforts, this is the way for us to give back.”
Todd said she wants to see more voting, and since the contest is through social media –mainly Facebook – it’s too easy not to vote. She created a Facebook group “Help Tuscaloosa Tornado Relief,” and voting numbers increased tremendously.
“If people would just start spreading the word and voting every day, we could have a great chance to win this contest,” Todd said.
Wilson said that if Tuscaloosa wins, the cash prize awarded from Tea Town USA will be matched.
The top 10 cities that receive the most votes will receive cash prizes. There are weekly challenges where participants can win prizes and gift cards also. Checking-in through Facebook at McAlister’s goes towards bonus points for Tuscaloosa. On July 28,McAlister’s will be hosting Free Tea Day. The McAlister’s that gives away the most teas will win major points to go towards their total.
The contest ends on July 29, and the winner will be announced July 30.
“One of the biggest messages I keep trying to put out there is don’t just vote once,” Marshall said. “You can vote once a day, every day until it’s over.”
To vote, you can log on to Facebook, like the “McAlister’s Deli Tea Freaks” page, click on Tea Town USA, and vote for Tuscaloosa, Ala.