With a chance to win $1 million from Wal-Mart for local food banks, Charleston restaurant manager Mickey Bakst had a quick idea: “Let’s Rally.”

Just hours into a promotion that Wal-Mart is running on its Facebook page, Bakst is trying to spread the word that everyone who is web-connected in the Charleston metro region needs to get online and start clicking.

“If we do it, we get a million for our local food banks,” said Bakst, general manager of the Charleston Grill and a supporter of various local charity efforts. “That’s the message.”

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to give $1 million to the community that gets the most votes in a contest running on its Facebook page. The food giant will provide $100,000 each to the next five communities. The money would go to local food banks.

The contest runs until Dec. 31, and each visitor may vote only once, which is in line with standard Facebook rules.

Charleston is on the list because it was identified as having one of the highest hunger rates in the country. But it is also competing with 99 other communities.

Already there is movement upward. Charleston was ranked No. 57 on the voting list Thursday afternoon, a jump of five notches from the 62 position on Wednesday.

Wal-Mart relied on the Food Research and Action Center to come up with the list of 100 communities.

Bakst said the effort is too simple to not get widespread participation. He spent part of the day Thursday blasting out e-mails and trying to get local media, hospitals, tourism and public relations sources involved in getting the word out - a message he said needs to be repeated, stressed and advertised daily.

If it comes true? “What a great thing,” he said.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.