Free Rice satisfies appetite for change

Help end world hunger

I was thrilled to see featured in my latest issue of Food & Wine magazine. An online trivia game with a social conscience, I’d discovered the site about a year ago as it was just growing in popularity.

When you arrive at, you’re presented with a word and four possible definitions. Questions get increasingly harder as you play. But the game automatically adjusts to your level based on how well you do. The game’s creator says this keeps you at edge of your skills, where learning takes place.

Besides increasing your word power, there’s an added bonus to playing…and here comes the free rice part. For each correct answer you give, the website’s creators donate 20 grains of rice to help reduce hunger in lesser developed countires.

How’s that work, you wonder?

Free Rice sells advertising on the site, unobtrusive banners that appear at the bottom of the screen as you play. These sponsors pay the ad fees directly to the UN World Food Programme to buy and distribute bags of rice where it’s needed most.

Since the site launched in October 2007, players have generated enough rice to feed more than two million people!

Besides vocabulary, Free Rice has added art, chemistry, geography, grammar, math and languages categories.

After seeing the plug in F&W, I was determined to re-visit the site and see if couldn’t achieve a personal best. It took me a while, but after almost two hours I hit my 45 and amassed a cumulus (yes, that’s a new FreeRice word…see…it works) of more than 11 000 grains of free rice.

Now that’s giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “food for thought.”


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