On Monday, Shelter Insurance began accepting entries for its 6th annual "Thankful for Our Communities" essay contest.

Five winners of the contest will each receive a $5,000 grant for the charity of their choice and a $100 Visa gift card for themselves.

To win in the past, contestants would enter an essay that describes what makes their communities special.

Contestants can still enter an essay, but new to this year's contest, video submissions will also be accepted.

Essays must be 350-1,000 words long and videos should be three to five minutes long.

Contestants should encourage others to vote for their entry because the submission that receives the most votes will win one of the prizes.

The next nine essays with the most votes will be reviewed by a panel of Shelter judges, who will choose the four remaining winners. Entries will be accepted until May 6; voting ends May 13.

Shelter has always encouraged community involvement, and this contest gives people a chance to spotlight their communities, as well as the opportunity to make a large contribution to their favorite charity.

According to Shelter Insurance vice president of marketing Frank Thompson, Shelter Insurance and its agents have a long history of supporting the communities they serve. The contest is a good opportunity to continue that tradition.

"This contest is always very well received and gives us the opportunity to help people point out the many positive aspects of their communities, find out what's important to the citizens of those communities, and help support those causes, he said."

To learn more about the contest, visit www.shelterinsurance.com/thankful or contact your local Shelter agent.