Written on: August 25, 2015
Being a person of limited funds but lots of compassion (like you, I take seriously the concept of creating a compassionate world), I look for ways to give as much as I can to charitable causes. You’ve read my article about kiva.org; now I want to tell you about Free Rice. You’ll especially like this if you’re an online solitaire player—or any other online game, for that matter.
Free Rice is an online game that was started in 2007 as an easy way to donate food to the hungry. Go to freerice.com and you’ll see a word followed by four definitions. Pick the correct one and you’ll donate grains of rice. Ten grains? Really? What difference could that make? Well, if you’re like me, one word becomes two, and two become ten, and ten become a hundred. . . and in a few minutes I’ve given 1,000 grains of rice. Yesterday everyone who played donated a total of 4,141,470 grains of rice, and that’s enough to feed 215 people for a day!
As far as vocabulary goes, the game starts you at level 1 (“Pillow means”) but quickly moves you to higher levels, depending on how well you’ve responded to lower ones. If you miss a word, the correct answer is shown and the word comes up again in a couple of minutes. If you keep playing, you’ll always learn something, and enjoyably. I showed it to one of my classes as a tool to use with their students, and a few weeks later, when we had a few minutes left at the end of class, one of them asked if we could play Free Rice. So of course we did.
Free Rice has added other subject areas, including five foreign languages, chemistry, humanities, science, geography, and math. As with everything, if you play regularly, your donations mount up—and so does your knowledge.
If you like to play computer games—solitaire, Candy Crush, Words with Friends—bookmark this one. The more you play, the more you enjoy, learn, and donate.
Sister Nancy Kaczmarek, GNSH is a professor in the Education Department at D’Youville College. She was a former member of the Committee on Finance for the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. FreeRice appeals to both her good “cents” and her love of games!