Build your vocabulary, stop hunger

November 26, 2007

At freerice.com, a site that started two months ago, every vocabulary word correctly defined buys 10 grains of rice for the United Nations World Food Program, which distributes food to impoverished third world people in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and so on. All you do is click–it’s free, supported by advertising beneath the vocab words.

I’ll forego the warnings about how sites like this can’t last very long without advertisers seeing revenue from their investment and how it’s probably more economical to put your money and your time elsewhere (an $8.25 donation directly to the WFP buys 25 kilograms of rice, so just working an hour of overtime and donating the proceeds does more for hunger than very very much word guessing). The fact is, it’s kind of fun to play on Freerice. And it’s better than doing nothing, which many people do simply because it’s the easiest option.

Some of the definitions are a little wonky–“calabash” does not mean “squash,” though it is a type of squash–and I blame that for my inability to get past level 45 without cheating. (Believe it or not, I now appreciate the GRE and SAT analogy and antonym questions–they really are a better way at getting at the sense of a word) But while I’m trying to best my personal high score, I’m feeding hungry people. And you can’t really beat that.

Level 50, here I come.

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