According to the United Nations, about 25,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes, most of them children. The award-winning website, FreeRice.com works with the United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries.
The site was the brainchild of John Breen, a computer programmer from Indiana who also created thehungersite.com, therainforestsite.com and Poverty.com. Breen invented the site, and typed in all 10,000 definitions, after observing his son study for the SAT.
Breen came up with the genius idea to pay for the rice by advertisements that appear at the bottom of the vocabulary screen. This advertising not only helps support learning (free vocabulary improvement for all!) but more importantly, helps reduce world hunger.
When playing the game, each word you guess correctly adds 5 grains of rice to your total rice earned. You can play as long as you like, and can even click on a speaker icon to hear the pronunciation of the word. You can also select a difficulty level, or let the game determine that for you, based on how well you do while playing.
FreeRice works with a team of professional lexicographers to continually add new and more difficult words to the game, thus making it even more fun for vocabulary geeks like me. Since it’s launch in October 2007, 500,0o00 people have been clicking on the game each day. To date, the site has donated 25,230,699,310 grains of rice. (Just to provide some framework, according to the UN, approximately 20,000 grains of rice provide enough caloric intake to sustain an adult for one day.)