In my article Take in a Silent Guest This Thanksgiving, we read how Americans fed the hungry in war-torn Europe during the 1947 holiday.
This year on Thanksgiving, you can also Feed a Silent Guest simply by going online. The game Free Rice allows users to test their knowledge of vocabulary or other subjects and fight global hunger at the same time.
For each right answer, ten grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), paid for by advertisers on the site. WFP uses this food in relief operations in Pakistan and many other countries.
Players of the new Free Rice can log in using their Facebook or Twitter profiles, share the amount of rice they’ve raised, and create groups to play with friends or classmates. (courtesy World Food Programme)
Nancy Roman, WFP Public Policy Director, says Free Rice is the perfect hunger fighting tool for Thanksgiving. She says, “Generosity and goodwill is at the heart of this holiday and Free Rice helps you give while having fun at the same time – and it won’t cost you a cent.”
Free Rice is unique in that it can make such a difference on both a global and personal level. It’s a way for everyone to get involved in helping the nearly one billion people worldwide who suffer from hunger.
Earlier this year I spoke to several groups, some with teachers who use Free Rice in their classes. Here is what one teacher, Tish Wodetzki, said about this amazing game:
“I had a student bring my attention to the site www.freerice.com a few years ago. I thought it was wonderful because the kids just loved it (8th graders in Social Studies and Language Arts). Many/most of my students were English Language Learners and/or students where English was not their primary language. Also, many lived below or at the poverty line. Yet, this site allowed them to improve their language skills through vocabulary development while allowing them to feel like they were making a difference in their global world. So, I offered extra credit for every 1,000 grains of rice that they could accumulate. I allowed them to show me live online the points they had earned or they brought in a printout, and I kept track of it in my gradebook. The students loved it and often times asked to go to that site any time we had spare time on the computer. I believe this helped and advanced my students academically as well as making them better global citizens. I was so excited to hear from Mr. Bill Lambers in a recent visit to my classroom about Cincy Authors, Eng 223, at the College of Mount Saint Joseph that this was a legitimate site impacting children around the world that I wanted to also use him in another course I had at the Mount – MCE 556, Methodology of Language Arts and Social Studies. Mr. Lambers’ abilities to share how to incorporate teaching about hunger in classrooms was a perfect tie-in for this class. Our entire class was elated to see that this site, www.freerice.com, now included several subjects. I so endorse this site that I am constantly referring it to peer teachers and students – what a great way for students to become involved in their global community and become better 21st Century learners!”
So this year on Thanksgiving, try to make some time for Free Rice. Like the Silent Guest program of 1947, you’ll be feeding the hungry overseas and changing the world like Americans did when they helped nations rebuild from World War II.
You can help build peace today around the world using food. And you might just get the best Free Rice score in your whole family, neighborhood or class. And if not, there are more holidays for a rematch. Happy Thanksgiving!