If you know of one or more heroes you’ve encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic why not give them some recognition?

The magazine Reader’s Digest has launched “Nicest Places in America 2020: United In Kindness,” its fourth annual national search for the places where people are kind and do inspiring things to make each other’s lives better every day.

As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to impact communities nationwide, this year’s search, in partnership with neighborhood platform Nextdoor, will honor the heroism of the everyday Americans who, despite divisions, have come together in kindness to overcome this crisis, ease suffering, save lives, and assist in ways large or small.

Reader’s Digest is collecting reader-submitted stories of kindness at www.rd.com/nicest through May 31 and will honor the most inspiring stories online and in print.

For the past three years, Reader’s Digest has been celebrating the Nicest Places in America to spark positive change in all communities. This year is different. Americans have come together like no other time since World War II. But we are not united to fight an enemy overseas, we are United in Kindness against the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Reader’s Digest News Release.

Nicest Places in America 2020: United in Kindness is a platform for readers to recognize the people in their lives—in their towns, stores, hospitals, social feeds, food pantries, Zoom gatherings, anyplace that matters to them—who would not let the virus defeat them. Reader’s Digest and Nextdoor pledge to help make sure America never forgets all their acts of kindness.

“In a time where Americans are facing constant fear and uncertainty, we’re seeing neighbors continually step up to serve one another and spread joy,” said Reader’s Digest Editor-in-Chief Bruce Kelley in the news release. “Nicest Places allow us to bring those everyday stories of kindness to a wider audience and add a breath of positivity to a dark situation.”

From the audience submissions, an advisory council, including Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar, Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot and Trusted Media Brands CEO Bonnie Kintzer, will select the 50 most extraordinary stories, one from every state, to be honored as the 50 Nicest Places in America. Reader’s Digest will unveil these stories online at the end of June and give America a chance to help decide which honorees, including one grand honoree, will be highlighted in our November issue.

Reader’s Digest is partnering with local and national organizations, like Feeding America and the American Hospital Association, to make sure we hear every story of kindness across America. This includes an expanded partnership with Nextdoor, which has also supported previous searches. This year, Nextdoor will be calling on Americans across its hundreds of thousands of neighborhoods through its newsfeed, newsletters, and on social media to share their stories of kindness in the time of COVID-19.

“We’re so excited to once again be partnering in the search for the Nicest Places in America,” said Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar in the news release. “Now more than ever, communities have been flocking to Nextdoor to connect with their neighbors and share their experiences, and we have been touched to see firsthand the amazing kindness coming out of these communities.”

Launched in 2017, the search for Nicest Places has resulted in nearly two thousand nominations filled with stories of a kinder America. In 2019, Columbiana, Ohio was voted the Nicest Place in America, where residents described their community ethos as “giving back without wanting anything in return is a way of life.”

The search will run in three phases: a collection of stories; announcement of nationwide honorees and public engagement; and the unveiling of the grand honoree on the cover of the November issue of Reader’s Digest. As America regains its health and old ways of division return, Reader’s Digest will not forget what unites us and honor those stories and those people with award-winning coverage online and in-book.

Source: Reader’s Digest