Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Increase your vocabulary; feed the world

When I heard about www.freerice.com this morning on NPR's The Bryant Park Project, I knew this was a Web site for me. Imagine, a chance to feed the world's hungry and become a big smartypants in the process. This addictive Web site quizzes visitors on vocabulary words. For every definition you get right, the site donates 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The rice is paid for by companies who advertise on the site. To date, freerice.com has given away more than 9 billion grains of rice.

Freerice.com is the sister site to www.poverty.com, which explains:
About 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes,
according to the United Nations. This is one person every three and a half
seconds. Unfortunately, it is children who die most often.

Yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone. The problem is that
hungry people are trapped in severe poverty. They lack the money to buy enough
food to nourish themselves. Being constantly malnourished, they become weaker
and often sick. This makes them increasingly less able to work, which then makes
them even poorer and hungrier. This downward spiral often continues until death
for them and their families.

Rice is the staple diet for over half the world’s population and a key component in WFP’s operations, whether helping flood survivors in Bangladesh or feeding hunger’s less high profile victims: from those living in shanty towns in Jakarta to the mountain villages of Bolivia and Nepal. The top 10 recipients of rice deliveries this year were Myanmar, Nepal, Cambodia, Phillippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Cote d'Voire, India, Madagascar and Ecuador.

Think of all the ways we waste time during the day...chatting with co-workers...reading blogs. Today, take a brain break that will do you and someone else some good.


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