Tag Archives: Freerice

Feeding the Hungry in a Season of Giving

Last spring I wrote an op-ed about the looming famine in the Sahel region of Africa. Drought and conflict were causing massive food shortages for millions of people across at least eight countries.

Humanitarian agencies and donors did take action. Lives were saved. A disaster on the scale of the East Africa famine of 2011 was avoided.

But by no means is the Sahel out of the woods, as hunger still is very much present there. As Rene McGuffin of the World Food Programme says, “The response was effective…but malnutrition rates remain unacceptably high throughout much of the region.”

As this Season of Giving has arrived it’s important to remember what the individual can do to lead the fight against hunger worldwide. Even just going online and playing the game FreeRice can raise funds to feed children in Niger, one of the Sahel countries. The rice will go towards the school feeding program that helps children fight off hunger and be able to get an education.

Imagine if on Christmas Eve or Day people everywhere actually feed children in Niger simply by going online and playing this award-winning trivia game.

There are many different ways you can help. Just this month I sponsored a student from the College of Mount St. Joseph, Elizabeth Paff, who ran and raised money to feed children a life-saving food called Plumpy’nut. This food treats children with severe malnutrition. The donations, some still coming in, go to a non-profit organization called Edesia that produces the Plumpy’Nut and is currently making it for the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chad, one of the Sahel countries.

Writing to your representative in Congress asking them to fully fund the Food for Peace program is another significant step. Food for Peace is the U.S. program that responds to hunger emergencies all around the world in a effort to promote stability. Food for Peace funding is part of the Farm Bill which is currently stalled in Congress. If that delay continues Food for Peace funding will run out. To fight hunger at home Feeding America is asking Congress to fund food stamps and the TEFAP program that supports foodbanks.

There is enough food in the world for everyone. Hunger can be defeated here at home and abroad. What can make that happen is within each individual – the holiday spirit of giving.

See also: Feed an Invisible Guest This Holiday.

Article first published as Feeding the Hungry in a Season of Giving on Blogcritics.

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FreeRice Can Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving

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

What if on Thanksgiving Day you could share food with a hungry person a world away? What if you could feed hundreds or thousands of “silent guests” on Thanksgiving? Actually you can, with FreeRice, the award-winning online game which helps feed the hungry.

When you play FreeRice you answer questions in many subjects including vocabulary, math, etc. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Programme, the largest food aid organization.

This year I had the opportunity to write some of the questions that appear in the new FreeRice section on world hunger. I have also been encouraged by the response to the game.

Recently, I wrote a story on the great work Ithaca College’s Food for Thought organization has done with FreeRice. This is part of their ongoing campaign against hunger which is highlighted by the Walk for Plumpy’nut.

A College of Mount St. Joseph student, Elizabeth Paff, has been promoting FreeRice as part of an upcoming campus walk event against hunger. The St. John’s Church in Delhi, Ohio told me they are playing FreeRice with some of their school programs.

FreeRice has raised money to feed schoolchildren in Haiti after the earthquake. Currently FreeRice donations are headed to Niger, a country in Western Africa that has suffered a severe drought this year. In addition, Niger is host to thousands of refugees from a conflict in the neighboring country of Mali.

We saw this year how tough drought is and how it can lead to higher food prices. In Niger, where farmers have less technology and means to cope, the consequences of drought multiply. We can throw this country a safety net by playing FreeRice.

So after turkey this year, make some time for FreeRice. By simply playing this game, you can invite a “silent guest” into your home on Thanksgiving, and help feed people a world away in Niger.

Visit FreeRice.com to start playing.

Article first published as FreeRice Can Feed the Hungry on Thanksgiving on Blogcritics.

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A Tale of Two Yogurts

I was recently introduced, by one of its most loyal customers, to a very popular yogurt shop called Orange Leaf.

So I got an idea to propose a holiday event there to fight hunger by awarding gift certificates to Orange Leaf customers who get the highest scores playing the game FreeRice.

FreeRice is the online trivia game where for every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Programme. So hopefully this event will get up and running at the Orange Leaf which I visited in Cincinnati. While I was at the store I sampled the yogurt and gave it a yum!

Now for me and others yogurt is a pleasure to add to the day. But a world away there are others for whom getting a chance to buy yogurt and other fresh foods is a simple step toward coping with the trauma of war.

Refugees from the war in Syria who have fled to neighboring countries are without resources to buy food. One initiative the World Food Programme (WFP) has started is providing electronic vouchers so the refugees can actually shop at a store near where they are staying.

The food vouchers have been provided to over 120,000 refugees in Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey. WFP says, “The food vouchers can be redeemed against a list of items including cheese, milk, yogurt and eggs, which are not normally included in food rations. WFP often uses vouchers when food is available in the market but people do not have enough money to buy it.”

This is less expensive aid compared to shipping in food long distances and gives the refugees some choices as to what they may buy. The use of vouchers also helps the stores in the area where the refugees live. This means less of a burden on the host communities and more peaceful coping.

As WFP videographer Jonathan Dumont says, the voucher system gives refugees a chance to have a family meal again and in a troubled region, “a little comfort and stability goes a long way.”

With any luck yogurt will soon be helping to raise funds for the World Food Programme through the FreeRice contest, while at the same time be a part of its hunger relief operation through electronic vouchers. A tale of two yogurts.

Article first published as A Tale of Two Yogurts on Blogcritics.

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Take Lead in Fighting Hunger at Home and Abroad

With the election behind us, it’s time to focus on a major hunger crisis here at home and abroad. There are 50 million people hungry in the U.S. and worldwide there are 870 million starving people, a major cause of instability.

We don’t need to wait for the President and the Congress to act. I was reminded by Elizabeth Paff, a leadership student at the College of Mount St. Joseph on the Ohio River, that in America action starts from the grassroots. She wrote, “it has to start with someone out there so why not me?”

In 1947, along the Ohio River, that same leadership spirit was in action when a train rolled by as part of nationwide tour collecting food for war-torn Europe. The Friendship Train, as it was called, was powered by the initiative and generosity of everyday Americans. Wheat flour, milk, beans, macaroni, spaghetti, eggs, dried peas, and other foods were collected. These donations came when Europe’s recovery was still very much at risk. Winter was fast setting in with food supplies running low.

George Marshall, then Secretary of State, said, “from this time on…every man, woman and child in this country will exert a direct personal influence on the course of international affairs.” And they most certainly did in helping feed Europe’s hungry. The Friendship Train preceded one of our most successful foreign policy initiatives, the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe from the ashes of World War II.

Every American today can have a similar influence, whether feeding war refugees and flood victims in South Sudan or a hungry person in Syria or Afghanistan displaced by conflict. If everyone became a leader, had their own type of “Friendship Train,” this would be the biggest contribution to peace that can be made.

It does not take much to make a difference. Even one dollar buys a week’s worth of meals for a child. A church I visited had a collection jar for such a purpose called Change for a Change. Anyone with a computer can play the online game FreeRice and raise funds for the World Food Programme. Organizing a fundraising road race or walk in your community can also send a powerful message that world hunger is a top priority.

We cannot expect there to be peace with millions of people malnourished and children stunted in growth. The instability we see in the world will never cease unless there is food, hope, and opportunity for all.

At home leadership is needed too, with many Americans struggling to get enough food for their families. Unemployment, health issues, or natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy place people in need of emergency food banks. We have to make sure that these foodbanks have enough supplies.

That is where citizens can take the lead in organizing canned good collections or online fundraisers. Athletes can use a cell phone app called Charity Miles to raise money for Feeding America as well as the World Food Programme.

Combining your charitable acts with messages to the President and the Congress can make leadership contagious. You can encourage Congress, for instance, to pass legislation helping the hungry such as the upcoming Farm Bill.

Today, there is enough food worldwide to feed all the hungry at home and abroad. It’s not a question of resources as much as leadership. That is where you can come in to take charge in confronting the food crisis facing our planet.

Article first published as Take Lead in Fighting Hunger at Home and Abroad on Blogcritics.

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Ithaca’s Food for Thought Takes on Global Hunger

Amanda Riggio, former Food For Thought member and Ithaca College student, conceived an event, “Rise Up for Rice,” where students could gather together and answer trivia questions at freerice.com to help eradicate world hunger. (Food for Thought photo)

New York is full of great history and heroes. During the fall of 1947, for example, the Friendship Train rolled through the state collecting food for the hungry in war-torn Europe.

Today, not far from where the Friendship Train made its New York stops, students at Ithaca College are also collecting donations to feed the hungry. One way they accomplish this is through an online trivia game called FreeRice.

Every time you answer a question correctly playing FreeRice, ten grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Programme. And the Friendship Train is one of the questions in this game!

Ithaca College has a dedicated organization to fighting world hunger called Food for Thought. Back in 2010 I wrote a story on Elizabeth Stoltz who founded this hunger-fighting group.

Stoltz had set up an event for the Ithaca community called the Walk for Plumpy’nut, a fundraiser to provide life-saving food to malnourished children. This event has continued ever since collecting thousands of dollars each year to purchase Plumpy’nut. She was also running a magazine called Plumpy’nut Press.

Since that time Food for Thought has expanded its reach in feeding the hungry. In addition to the annual Walk for Plumpy’nut it has started the Rise up for Rice challenge using the FreeRice game. Two of Food for Thought’s current officers, Lethia McFarland and Lindsey Smith, recently shared some of the groups accomplishments in the following interview.

Who developed the idea of the Rise Up For Rice Challenge?

Amanda Riggio, former Food For Thought member and Ithaca College student, conceived an event, “Rise Up for Rice,” where students could gather together and answer trivia questions at freerice.com to help eradicate world hunger.

How many players participated in the Rise Up For Rice Challenge this year?

Unfortunately, we cannot measure the number people participated this year, given that many people did so remotely, but we did raise 43,590 grains of rice collectively.

Did you have a tournament involving different teams too?

We did not. Everyone who participated logged in under the same account “riseupforrice,” so that we could best track the impact.

How many grains of rice did you raise this year?

43,590 grains (over four times the amount that we raised last year!)

How did you promote the event on campus?

We actively promoted the event via social media, including Facebook and Twitter. To supplement this, we also designed small pamphlets and distributed them throughout campus.

Do you have members participating from outside the campus?

It could have been a possibility, but unfortunately, we could not measure that affirmatively.

Can people still take part in Rise up For Rice all year long?

Yes! We encourage students to play on the day of Rise up for Rice, but the account is open all year long.

Rise up for Rice was preceded by another event on campus called Walk for Plumpy’nut? How did that event go this year?

At our 6th Annual Walk for Plumpy’nut on Sunday, October 7th, we welcomed 109 people and walked together in solidarity to fight childhood hunger. We were able to raise over $4,100 dollars, as well as obtain 40 sponsors for this year’s walk. All of the proceeds will go directly to Concern Worldwide to buy Plumpy’nut for distribution in therapeutic feeding centers across Ethiopia. Plumpy’nut, a ready-to-use therapeutic food, will be used to help treat severely malnourished children. Overall, we hosted a successful event, thanks to the gracious support of the Ithaca community.

Article first published as Ithaca’s Food for Thought Takes on Global Hunger on Blogcritics.

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FreeRice Wants You to Help Create Famous Quotes Section

Now you can ask the questions. Help us create a new “Famous Quotes” subject on Freerice.com that will include the words of well-known world leaders that have changed life and the course of history. (photo courtesy of FreeRice)

Millions of people have played the award-winning game FreeRice, but now you can help create a new subject category. FreeRice is inviting everyone to submit their favorite quotes to potentially be included in their new “Famous quotes” section.

FreeRice says, “The subject is dedicated to the words and thoughts of world leaders that have changed course of history.”

Visit the Free Rice site and suggest a quote. There are some basic guidelines to follow and you can submit as many quotes as you like, ten, twenty or one thousand.

Here is an example from the Free Rice site:

  • Example of an acceptable quote: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong

What you will be doing is helping to fight world hunger. Every time someone plays FreeRice and gets a correct answer, ten grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Programmme (WFP), the largest hunger fighting agency. So by creating this new section you will be spreading wisdom but also helping people living in extreme poverty. There are nearly one billion people suffering from hunger worldwide.

Visit the Suggest a Quote Page.

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Online Game Educates About World Hunger and Donates Rice

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)

This week the award-winning online game FreeRice added a new subject: world hunger. Players can now answer questions about hunger and malnutrition while helping collect donations of rice.

When you play FreeRice you answer questions in a variety of subjects including vocabulary, math, science and art. There is even an SAT preparation section. For each correct answer ten grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), paid for by advertisers on the site.

WFP is the world’s largest food aid organization and relies on donations to fight hunger in many countries around the globe.

Dr. Al Forsyth, who wrote most of the questions for the world hunger subject, says: “It’s always fun to see how smart you are, to show off your knowledge playing Freerice while contributing to a most worthy cause. But if the subject is really important, as world hunger surely is, how much better to also learn from playing the game. Playing “World Hunger” will help you understand why it is so important to fill that bowl with rice!”

With the school year starting up, teachers around the country have an extremely valuable tool to use in Freerice. Students can learn while tackling the toughest crisis facing the globe. Schools can even compete to see who answers the most questions correctly and donates the most rice.

I had the chance to write some of the questions for the world hunger subject, mainly about the history. If you read my article in the Des Moines Register titled Humanitarian Heroes, Both Large and Invisible and also my piece on the Russian Famine of 1921, you will be prepared for some of those questions. You can continue a great humanitarian tradition of fighting hunger by playing FreeRice.

You can start playing the World Hunger subject at Freerice.com.

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Fight Global Hunger While Preparing for the SAT with Freerice

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

Believe it or not, school will be starting again very soon. This means for high school students it’s time to prepare for the SAT to help with their college applications. The next SAT test is scheduled for October 6, 2012. Others are to follow November 3 and December 1. It’s never too early to start doing some preparation.

During these coming months food prices globally will likely rise because of this summer’s drought. How does this global crisis connect to SAT test preparation? Actually it can, because if you use Freerice.com to prepare for the SAT you can help donate rice to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the largest food aid organization.

Freerice is an online learning game where for every correct answer 10 grains of rice are donated to WFP, paid for by advertisers. The site has recently added an SAT preparation section in partnership with Kaplan. There are currently 500 questions in the Freerice SAT prep section.

Rene McGuffin, WFP senior spokesperson, says: “By playing the SAT subject on Freerice, students not only make a big impact on their test scores. They now also make a big impact on hunger. They build a brighter future for themselves while brightening the future for students like them around the world.”

Freerice also has vocabulary, chemistry, foreign languages, math, and other subjects available to play. You can also create teams. Your school, for instance, could create an SAT preparation team and keep track of how many grains of rice you have earned.

Worldwide there are nearly one billion people who suffer from hunger. This number could very well increase with a rise in food prices and continued conflict in countries like Sudan and Somalia. Playing Freerice is one way you can support the UN World Food Programme’s hunger relief efforts.

Freerice donations have supported hunger relief in Haiti and Cambodia, including school meal programs. It is school feeding that gives children in developing countries an opportunity to learn and build their future, much as students will be doing this fall by taking the SAT.

“Kaplan’s SAT questions help Freerice players to build their vocabulary, and playing Freerice helps the world’s most vulnerable populations reach their full potential,” said Nancy Roman, WFP Director of Communications, Public Policy and Private Partnerships.

Article first published as Fight Global Hunger While Preparing for the SAT with Freerice on Blogcritics.

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On Digital Learning Day, think FreeRice

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

This Wednesday, February 1, is the first ever National Digital Learning Day. It’s a chance to showcase the innovation taking place in classrooms through internet technology and digital media.

One online tool helps students learn and also feeds the hungry worldwide. It is called FreeRice and it’s an online trivia game in which you answer questions on vocabulary, math, chemistry, foreign languages, and even art.

While a student is playing and learning about these subjects, something else magical is happening. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice, paid for by advertisers, are donated to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the largest agency fighting hunger. The donations are used in WFP operations fighting hunger and malnutrition.

Last year, for instance, students who played this game helped support school feeding programs in Haiti and Cambodia. The more students play the game, the more support for hunger relief.

Innovative online learning can play a role in tackling the most massive crisis facing man. There are nearly one billion people worldwide who suffer from hunger. A severe drought struck East Africa last year causing food shortages and wide-scale displacement as people desperately searched for help. This crisis is far from over.

Another one is fast emerging in West Africa, in the Sahel region, where the countries of Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Mali are being devastated by drought which has ruined food supplies. Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, and so many other countries are suffering deeply from hunger and malnutrition.

The World Food Programme relies on voluntary donations to help these countries fight hunger. This agency is so low on funding that many of their relief operations face suspensions or reduced rations. Right now, children in Mauritania are about to lose their school meal of rice at a time when they need it more than ever. The same holds true in the Ivory Coast, where rice and other supplies are running out for children in a country recovering from an internal conflict last year.

FreeRice is a digital tool that can help these hungry children while helping other children learn. The game’s mission statement is to “Provide education to everyone for free” and “Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.” The game is even great for adults who want to test their knowledge on these subjects.

So on this Digital Learning Day I hope many students and teachers will join the already one million players of FreeRice. You can form teams on FreeRice too, so perhaps schools can develop tournaments between classes and even other schools just as they do with football, basketball, debating, and other activities. The sky is the limit for this online learning tool and what it can accomplish.

You can start playing at Freerice.com.

Article first published as On Digital Learning Day, Think FreeRice on Blogcritics.

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This Christmas Feed a Silent Guest and End World Hunger

The Providence-based Edesia will be making plumpy'nut this Christmas Eve to feed malnourished children in Chad (photo courtesy of Edesia)

Imagine if every person gave a gift this Christmas to a “silent guest,” one of the world’s hungry. During Christmas 1947, Americans did just that, continuing the successful “silent guest” program started in Thanksgiving of that year by a former aspiring actress named Iris Gabriel.

People imagined a “silent guest” at their holiday meal, and donated the cost of the imaginary food plate to buy a CARE package. These packages fed many thousands in countries overseas rebuilding from World War II.

This Christmas Eve a company called Edesia will be making packages of plumpy’nut to send to the African nation of Chad. Food is out of reach for the many poor in Chad, a country where drought and conflict have taken their toll. The smallest children pay the heaviest price unless the outside world intervenes with foods like plumpy’nut.

Plumpy’nut is a special package of food that saves infants from succumbing to dangerous malnutrition. There is no more important gift these children can receive.

Edesia accepts donations so you can help them fill this plumpy’nut order to Chad.One dollar actually buys several little packages, or sachets, of plumpy. Their plant has also produced this peanut paste for East Africa, Yemen, Guatemala, Haiti and Pakistan. Aid agencies like the World Food Programme, UNICEF and others distribute the plumpy’nut in these countries.You can make “silent guest” donations to these organizations at their respective web sites.

There are also ways you can feed a silent guest simply by playing on your computer. If you play the online game Free Rice, 10 grains of rice are donated to the hungry every time you get a correct answer. The rice is paid for by advertisers on the site.

There are many ways you can give a holiday gift to a silent guest at your holiday celebration. Happy Holidays!

See also Commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle: What you can do today to help end world hunger.

Article first published as This Christmas Feed a Silent Guest and End World Hunger on Blogcritics.

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