Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Free Rice - Help Feed The World

According to 25,000 people starve to death every day. Let that sink in for a moment. In my town that's equivalent to number of the students enrolled in six local high schools. If all those children were lost in one day to some sort of disaster how would we cope? Would our nation ever be the same? Putting a recognizable face on hunger has a sobering affect.

I bet if you knew that you could help feed a starving child by playing an online game you would jump at the opportunity to help. Well, get Free Rice is a program developed by John Breen and partnered with The game is easy and educational. When you pick the correct definition of an English word twenty grains of rice is donated to United Nations' World Food Program.

Twenty grains is about a teaspoon full, so what's the big deal? Keep playing for a long as you like and the number increases with each right answer. My children and I played yesterday and today, compiling a total donation of over 10,000 grains. Still not much but what happens when thousands of people play this game?

Since the site went live on October 7th of this year, a total of 9,868,446,910 grains of rice has been bought and paid for by advertisements that run unobtrusively at the bottom of the gameplay banner.

Companies such as Sirius Satellite Radio, Personal Creations, EToys and ITunes see the value in using their advertising dollars in altruistic ways, not only promoting customer loyalty and brand name recognition but helping to end the ravages of hunger at the same time.

The icing on the cake for this novel idea is that the player increases his/her knowledge of the English language and their ability to communicate effectively. And at the same time it raises their awareness of world issues and their own unique ability to affect change.

The prestigious publication, The School Library Journal reported, “A teacher of fourth and fifth graders on the Yurok Indian reservation in Klamath, CA, . . . emailed the United Nations' WFP. ‘My students absolutely LOVE the free rice site. Almost daily they earn several thousand grains of rice!’ she wrote. ‘You cannot imagine the joy in my heart when I look out and see 25 kids doing vocabulary work and enjoying it.’”

What's more...I bet many of these school children are making the connection between playing the game and social activism. Maybe is helping to raise a generation who will speak up freely and act on behalf of the world's disenfranchised. Maybe by then there will be no more hunger.

Please take a moment to check out the statistics on As a citizen of the United States, they are quite shocking and embarrassing. someone today.


Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Lisa,
Alanis Morrisette has a line in her song "Thank You" which asks: "How about not equating death with starving?" That sounds so simple, right?
I've bookmarked Free Rice and I'm going to begin will my kids. Thank you.
On a side note, I am taking a break from blogging until after Christmas. I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. have fun and be happy and healthy. -Michael.

franscud said...

Wow, what a great idea. I played for a little while and got up to 500 grains. I'll try to do at least that much tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

What fun the "game"is! It will be good exercise for my old brain and I might even learn a new word or two (or more!) I got up to a little over 1000 grains...didn't want to quit but had to do some other things. I've bookmarked the site and will play often. Thanks for putting us on to this great site.
Mom Mc

Lisa McGlaun said...


Thanks for playing. It is fun, isn't it? See you after your well deserved break.

Merry Christmas,

Lisa McGlaun said...


Almost didn't recognize you. I've grown so accustomed to your the new picture.

Keep playing and we'll keep feeding the world.

Have a great day,

Lisa McGlaun said...

Hello Mom Mc,

I bet your vocab level was higher than mine..:) See you soon. Glad you bought a ticket to come see us.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa -
I thought I would point out this site: Do Some Good Now, which is similar to the Free Rice site. The more people that know about it, the better, it seems.

Sara said...

Hi Lisa--

I LOVE FREERICE!! I actually know John Breen and his wife. What nice people they are!! I try to play every day...once i donated 20000 grains of rice :)

Lisa McGlaun said...


Thanks for pointing out the site. It sounds good.

Best Wishes,

Lisa McGlaun said...

Dear Sara,

Wow. That's so great that you know them. It would be nice to meet someone like that who has used their abilities on the web to help others. Free Rice is a wonderful site.