Thursday, May 01, 2008

Improve your vocab and help feed the hungry

Help end world hunger

Freerice.com. It's so easy and simple that it sounds like a scam. Take a vocabulary quiz and for each word you choose the correct synonym for 20 grains of rice will be donated to the hungry.

In about 20 minutes of playing I have donated 1,380 grains of rice. A miniscule amount, I know. But ... since the site launched October 7, 2007, they've raised ... 30,423,902,770. Producersrice.com says there are 29,000 grains of rice in a pound, which means that according to these numbers freerice.com has donated more than 1,049,100 pounds of rice!!!

Here's the Washington Post's blurb about the site ...

What's the Word? We Can Help Feed the Hungry.

Sunday, November 4, 2007; Page N02

What if just knowing what a word meant could help feed hungry people around the world? Well, at FreeRice ( http://www.freerice.com) it does. Go to the site, which launched last month, and you'll see a word and four definitions. Choose the right meaning and the site's advertisers will donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Program, a United Nations agency that is the world's largest humanitarian organization. Keep on guessing (the quiz gets progressively more arduous, not to mention vexatious), and for each correct answer 10 more grains of rice will head to people who need it.

Now, admittedly, 10 grains is a piddling amount. But the totals have grown exponentially. On Oct. 7, the day the site launched, 830 grains of rice were donated. Barely a bowlful. Eight days later, the total was 6,403,920. And when this article went to press, 537,163,380 grains of rice had been donated. That's more than 14 metric tons. Not bad for a month's worth of people figuring out definitions. Want a sample? Okay, does the word "pettifogger" mean a mine entrance, an unscrupulous lawyer, avoidance or potpourri?

The site is the brainchild of John Breen, a 50-year-old computer programmer from Bloomington, Ind., who has tackled hunger online before, first with the Hunger Site ( http://www.thehungersite.com) and, earlier this year, with the launch of Poverty.com, a poverty awareness site that he hopes people will visit to learn about helping to get more funding for international poverty relief.

"I wanted to have something fun to do that wasn't just a waste of time and had some vaguely redeeming value," Breen says with a laugh. He decided on the vocabulary quiz -- and entered all 10,000 words and definitions himself -- after watching his son preparing for the SAT.

"It's hard to get people to read about hunger and poverty," Breen says. "It's kind of depressing, so I had to think of an entertaining way to draw people in. Hopefully, they'll also click on to Poverty.com and find out what needs to be done."

Oh, and if in your clicking you come across "pettifogger," it means unscrupulous lawyer. Yeah, it's sort of cheating to tell you, but it's for a good cause.

-- Joe Heim

My vocab level is up to 40. The site goes up to 55, but most people don't exceed 48, according to the site.

1 comment:

bluesky said...

Another great charity site is AIDtoCHILDREN.com. It donates money to children in need through World Vision.

Check it out at http://www.aidtochildren.com