Tag Archives: Freerice

Online game nets rice for schoolchildren in Africa

The online learning game FreeRice just donated US $53,325 worth of food for school meals in Niger. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) recently announced this latest FreeRice grant.

Read the full article at Examiner.com

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Ohio grade school helps feed children in Niger

Yesterday I visited the 5th grade class at the John Foster Dulles Elementary School in Cincinnati. The kids there have been playing a ton of FreeRice this school year.

Read the full article at Examiner.com

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Super Bowl, NFL Can Raise Awareness About Global Hunger

The Super Bowl can be so much more than a classic championship game and a barrage of advertisements. The NFL, with its powerful media presence, has a great opportunity to help the suffering people around the world. There are 842 million people worldwide who struggle every day to find basic food.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post.

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Why FreeRice is so important for Niger

FreeRice has two goals:  Provide education to everyone for free.  Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

FreeRice has two goals: Provide education to everyone for free. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

When you go online to play the award-winning game FreeRice you are currently helping feed school children in Niger. This is a country in the Sahel region of Africa where the UN  World Food Programme says, “2.5 million people are in a permanent state of food insecurity, unable to meet basic food requirements even under normal conditions.”

Millions of others also suffer from hunger during different periods of the year, between harvests for example. With such extreme hunger and poverty parents may withdraw their  children from school, unless there is the incentive of food.

Here is an excerpt of a report from the World Food Programme:

The school feeding programme successfully encourages enrollment and attendance of children,  and reduces drop-out rates, in primary schools in structurally  vulnerable areas of Niger through the provision of cooked meals. In  order to address the gender gap in enrollment and reduce drop-out rates,  WFP provides a dry, take-home family ration to girls enrolled and attending the final  years of primary school. At the request of the Government, WFP and UNICEF are working to expand in nomadic areas.”

By playing FreeRice you are helping children get food and education. With the SAT tests coming up in June, millions of high school students in the U.S. could actually prepare for this test and help Niger by using the FreeRice SAT prep section.

Start playing at FreeRice.com.

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Remember the Hungry This Easter

Remember the Hungry this Easter (author's photo)

Remember the Hungry this Easter (author’s photo)

A survey by the National Retail Federation says Americans will spend about 17.2 billion dollars on Easter this year.

Imagine if that spending could be changed, just even a little bit. If one billion of that amount went to global hunger relief it could fund humanitarian emergencies in war devastated Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Mali and other countries.

At the time of Easter 1946 Americans cut back on festivities in order to help those suffering in countries leveled by World War II. While the hard fought war had been won, the peace had not. Hunger was the enemy that remained. The U.S. Army in Austria, for instance, was helping provide school meals to hungry children.

Americans listened to the plea of President Harry Truman around Easter when he warned, “we cannot ignore the cry of hungry children. Surely we will not turn our backs on the millions of human beings begging for just a crust of bread. The warm heart of America will respond to the greatest threat of mass starvation in the history of mankind.”

Truman canceled the White House egg roll as part of the nationwide effort to conserve food. The Gramercy Boys Club in the Bronx, New York created arm bands with the reminder “Don’t waste food.” They canceled their own Easter Egg hunt and decided to send their candy to the children in Europe. Americans rallied to send as much food as they could overseas whether it was through buying CARE packages or community collections.

The first 20,000 CARE packages of food arrived in France a couple weeks after Easter. In Cincinnati, Ohio firehouses, schools, and food stores served as collection points for a city-wide canned good drive. In May the Cincinnati Enquirer reported the city had sent 10 tons of food off to Europe with more collections to come. One Cincinnati man even donated an entire paycheck to the relief effort.

Herbert Hoover, who led hunger relief after both World Wars, penned the series of books on America’s life-saving efforts called An American Epic. Americans can today can start writing the next volume by their actions in this turbulent time in the world.

War and drought disasters are placing millions at risk of starvation. The conflict in Syria has destroyed food production factories and even if the fighting mercifully ended today it will takes years to rebuild the supply system. Both war and drought have struck at Mali and the Sahel region of Africa. In South Sudan people are living off foods from the wild because of internal conflict and poor harvests. In Afghanistan, very little is told about the hunger that makes about 60 percent of its youngest children stunted in growth. In Haiti, there is still much to be done to fight hunger and help the country rebuild.

Infant children are the most vulnerable to these disasters but a small sachet of the peanut paste Plumpy’Nut, which costs about 33 cents, can save them. It’s a nutrient rich food that some say tastes similar to a Peanut Butter Cup.

Even today there are ways to feed the hungry without spending a nickel. If you go online and play FreeRice you raise money every time you answer a question correctly. If you go to CharityMiles.org you can download a free app and go run, walk or bile to raise money for the World Food Programme or Feeding America. There is hunger within America’s border too with 50 million plus in need.

This Easter nothing could be more important than saving the lives of the hungry. There is more than enough food on the planet for everyone. No more important steps could be taken toward peace than relieving this crushing agony of hunger that afflicts 870 million people around the globe. The message of Easter is to stop that suffering and renew the world.

originally published at the Des Moines Register, Cincinnati.com and History News Network.

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College Class to Help Feed the Hungry

It was Helen Keller who said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” I recently used that great quote while speaking to a class at the College of Mount St. Joseph (MSJ).

The students there are going to help fight global hunger by playing FreeRice and walking Charity Miles as part of their Cincinnati Authors course. Ashley Eilers of the MSJ school paper reports on this service learning set up by Professor Jeff Hillard.

With FreeRice the students will be raising donations for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the largest agency fighting hunger. The FreeRice donations will feed children in Niger, a country that suffered a severe drought and near famine last year. With Charity Miles, the free cell phone app that generates donations when you exercise, the students will help both WFP and Feeding America.

The Mount’s Leadership Pathways program had a FreeRice event earlier this year. It was a student in last year’s Cincinnati Authors class, Elizabeth Paff, whose enthusiasm put this plan in motion.

Paff did not have a cell phone with internet connectivity so she was unable to download and use the Charity Miles app. That did not stop her, though. She did her own form of Charity Miles, running and fundraising for Plumpy’nut to feed malnourished children. Since October we have raised donations for over 1,300 meals for Feeding America, the World Food Programme, and Edesia through our combined Charity Miles program.

Last week I ran to the Anderson Ferry Food Pantry in Delhi, Ohio. It’s part of the Cincinnati Freestore Foodbank’s network of agencies fighting hunger in the area. The Pantry is short on donations while they have seen an increase in demand, a familiar scene across the country, with over 50 million Americans food-insecure.

A walk or run to your local food pantry, using Charity Miles, might be a good way to raise money and find out what is happening with hunger in your community. If there is a food shop nearby you might be able to finish your run there and purchase some supplies for the pantry as well.

Sherrie Kleinholz, a great advocate for the homeless, and I teamed up for a food drive last summer that benefited the Anderson Ferry Pantry as well as Our Daily Bread, and the Care Barrel at Our Lady of Victory Church. The food drive was in honor of my mother who passed away from cancer. One of the donors was scheduled shortly for surgery but still took the time to gather food and leave it out for pickup. Kleinholz also spoke to the Cincinnati Authors class prior to my presentation.

Feeding America is encouraging everyone to get involved in the Together We Can Solve Hunger campaign. The best ideas to help fight hunger are the ones you adapt or create on your own. So get involved as soon as you can.

Article first published as College Class to Help Feed the Hungry on Blogcritics.

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Interview: Dr. Al Forsyth on Helping and Learning with FreeRice

When you answer questions correctly while playing FreeRice a bowl fills up with rice, which will be sent to hungry people around the world. (photo from author's collection)

When you answer questions correctly while playing FreeRice a bowl fills up with rice, which will be sent to hungry people around the world. (photo from author’s collection)

FreeRice is the amazing online game where you feed the hungry while answering questions in vocabulary and other subjects. Currently, FreeRice donations are going to Niger to help feed schoolchildren.

Last year I had the opportunity to collaborate with the FreeRice team at the UN World Food Programme (WFP). We were discussing a potential new history subject.

It was during those discussions that Dr. Al Forsyth, a retired Weber State University professor, came up with the idea of a world hunger section for the game. This week I interviewed him to learn more about how he took this idea and turned it into a subject now appearing on FreeRice.

How did you first get involved with FreeRice and creating the global hunger section?

I think the concept of FreeRice – learning and helping – is brilliant. As a retired professor of teacher education, [I thought] the concept was very appealing and I wanted to be involved. While contributing to a new FreeRice subject, History, it occurred to me that an important piece of FreeRice’s “curriculum” was missing. The existing subject area list offered players a standard selection of academic subjects, yet visiting the World Food Programme site opened one’s eyes to much new information about the organization’s focal issue, world hunger. Why not offer that as a FreeRice subject? A World Hunger subject would allow the player to not only contribute to reducing world hunger by correctly answering questions, but also to learn about this supremely important issue.

Perhaps a little new knowledge would lead to a desire for more, to exploring the World Food Programme website, and even to discovering new ways to contribute to solving the problem. Fun, learning, commitment, engagement – that’s the sequence that I thought a World Hunger subject area on FreeRice might lead to.

Fortunately the World Food Programme person overseeing FreeRice liked the idea as well, and after the idea traveled through the required channels at WFP, it was adopted. Using WFP’s site and related links for much of my content, I developed 340 multiple-choice questions. WFP then thoroughly reviewed these questions for relevance, appropriateness and accuracy, eventually reducing the list to the current 285 questions.

When you created the section did you learn some things that surprised you about global hunger?

The questions I developed were of four basic types: definitions of terms related to world hunger; geographic information (countries and regions vis-a-vis world hunger); numbers showing the breadth and depth of world hunger; and lists (e.g., 5 causes of hunger, 10 top causes of death by disease, #1 cause of mental retardation and brain damage worldwide). The content of the numbers questions was most surprising: I had no idea of the seriousness of the issue, the extent of world hunger. These numbers brought into sharp focus the close correlation between hunger and other factors such as poverty, population, infant mortality, life expectancy. In fact, these questions were very difficult to write, as the information was shocking – and I wanted the player answering the question to be shocked by their new learning, so the correct multiple choice answer was often the most outrageous one. These questions are easy to answer: just choose the most shocking answer.

How do you recommend teachers utilize the global hunger subject in their classes?

Obviously, there are few, if any, courses in World Hunger in pre-collegiate public education. It is not a subject in the standard curriculum. And yet it is an issue central to the human experience, and as such it touches many parts of that curriculum. Any subject relating to people and how they live relates to world hunger: social studies, of course, but also English, other languages (as they expose students to other cultures), science (biological, chemical and physical aspects of hunger). And math, as a tool for opening understanding via numbers, can certainly be applied to the topic of world hunger. So, the subject of world hunger can be a central theme that unites diverse curricular areas.

The teacher can choose the content upon which standard subject areas can focus: world hunger would be an excellent choice. It is knowledge that contributes to understanding how the world works and where each individual fits into the global picture. And applying knowledge about world hunger can lead to engagement with one of humankind’s most pressing problems, and to the personal satisfaction of making a positive difference in the world. In other words, the payoff for placing world hunger at the center of the curriculum and teaching English, social studies, languages, sciences and math using content related to world hunger can be tremendous, both educationally and personally.

Another question is how best to use FreeRice World Hunger questions in the classroom. It could be a required activity for students, to prepare them with a base of knowledge about the subject, gained in a rather haphazard way, before learning about world hunger in a more orderly, sequenced fashion. It could also be a review, after formal learning has taken place. Personally, I would recommend that teachers introduce students to FreeRice, then turn them loose. They are naturally competitive and eager for empowerment, for the chance to do something really important while also learning. Seeing that bowl fill with rice can be a powerful, powerful motivator for learning – and for doing good.

Article first published as Interview: Dr. Al Forsyth on Helping and Learning with FreeRice on Blogcritics.

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