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The Super Bowl, Global Hunger, and Free Rice

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Next Sunday, the Super Bowl between the Steelers and Packers is not the only game featuring a star quarterback. And we are not talking about the puppy bowl either.

It’s actually the Ricebowl Challenge, which features Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Brees will be taking on students around the country to play Free Rice, an online vocabulary game that raises funds for the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

The Ricebowl Challenge runs February 6 through February 12. You can sign up for either the student team or Drew’s team at www.freerice.com/ricebowl.

The students’ team features the Maine Department of Education’s 1:1 laptop program, the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI).  The MLTI is recruiting around 100,000 students in Maine to take part in the Ricebowl. 

Nancy Roman, WFP Director of Communication, explains, “With Drew Brees at the helm of the Ricebowl, we have a fantastic opportunity to leverage social media networks across the nation and to see what an online community of hunger-fighting trivia fans can do in the fight against hunger.”

For each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme which they use in hunger relief operations around the globe. The rice is paid for by advertisers on the Free Rice site.

By playing Free Rice, you can take action against global hunger. At this very moment, hunger impacts nearly one billion people worldwide. Hunger and high food prices have been a cause of many protests, including the one taking place in Egypt.

A note about Maine. Back in 1947 the Friendship Train traveled across the United States picking up food to give to starving people in Europe. This was a critical period in history when the recovery of nations devastated by World War II was essential for winning the peace. Maine could not take part in the Friendship Train because of its location. However, this time Maine is taking the lead by setting up the Ricebowl, and with student participation. As Maine goes so goes the nation.  

Acadia National Park in Maine (NPS.gov photo)

In 1947 people in Maine still gave to hunger relief by donating to the “Silent Guest” program. Also, the Rotary Clubs of Maine filled a ship bound for Europe with food and clothing. This ship was one of 30 ships built for France by the Bath Iron Works.

The Friendship Train was a food for peace movement, and was considered a way people could take part in crafting the foreign policy of the United States. Free Rice is a type of Friendship Train for the Internet Age; a way people can get involved in fighting hunger, learning at the same time, and contributing to world peace efforts.  

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.