Fact Check


Does playing a word definition game at FreeRice.com result in food being donated to the needy?

Published Nov 19, 2007


Claim:   Playing a word definition game at FreeRice.com results in food being donated to the needy.

Status:   True.

Origins:   At FreeRice.com, you can "donate" 10 grains of rice to the needy simply by choosing the right answer to a word definition problem.

Each correct answer results in another donation of

10 grains.

FreeRice.com is the creation of 49-year-old American computer programmer John Breen, and is the sister site of Poverty.com, launched in January 2007 with a counter showing one person dying of hunger every 3.5 seconds. Breen is no stranger to such programs, having created The Hunger Site in June 1999.

As to who foots the bill for the food being donated, the site says: "The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen." As more people play the game, the site racks up more advertising revenue, which in turn is converted into food donations for the hungry.

On 7 October 2007, the first day of the site's operations, only 830 grains were donated. As of 9 June 2009, the number of grains of rice given away amounts to 65,307,213,570.

The rice is distributed by the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), an organization that in 2006 reached 87.8 million people in 78 countries.

Additional information:

    FreeRice.com FAQ   Frequently Asked Questions   (FreeRice.com)

Last updated:   9 June 2009

  Sources Sources:

    Devine, Miranda.   "Online Word Test Is Food for Thought."

    The [Sydney] Sun Herald.   21 October 2007   (p. 55).

    Heim, Joe.   "What's the Word? We Can Help Feed the Hungry."

    The Washington Post.   4 November 2007   (p. N2).

    Africa News.   "Online Game Helps to Feed the Hungry."

    12 November 2007.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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