The site FreeRice.com is a fantastic charity site that helps fight world hunger through a game.
I had heard of this a long time ago, but I never actually tried it until today. I researched a bit, and was very impressed by it, which is why I'm posting this.
How it Started
FreeRice began on October 7, 2007. It was created by John Breen, a computer programmer from Bloomington, Indiana, who also created thehungersite.com, therainforestsite.com and Poverty.com. Breen invented the site, and typed in all 10,000 definitions, after observing his son study for the SAT.
How it Works
Visitors to the website are presented with a word and four definitions. If a user selects the correct definition, FreeRice.com donates 20 grains of rice through the United Nations. Another word is then presented. Special graphics symbolizing 100 and 1,000 grains of rice are displayed on a graphical tally if the player's total reaches these numbers. Various landmarks are represented with different messages of encouragement such as: "You have donated 10,000 grains of rice. Wow! Now THAT is impressive!" after the 10,000th grain is donated, and after 20,000 grains, "You have donated 20,000 grains of rice. Wow! We're speechless!" After every ten thousand grains thereafter, the message "Wow! We're STILL speechless!" will appear. The last message of encouragement appears when you reach 100,000: "You have donated 100,000 grains of rice. May you have a lifetime of happiness..." and then the donation comes back at 0 grains.
The difficulty of each displayed word is measured from 1 (easy) to 60 (very hard). The game begins with four introductory definitions to set an initial vocabulary level. From the fifth question onward, three consecutive correct responses raise the difficulty level by one. Every incorrect answer lowers the level by one. Users can play for as long as they wish. The game determines difficulty level dynamically by analyzing the results from all users' game play.
A speaker icon has been added to each definition to provide an audio pronunciation of the word.
How its possible
n exchange for advertisements on the website, various sponsors donate the money necessary to pay for the rice and other costs to run FreeRice. The donations are distributed by the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP), starting with Bangladesh in early 2008. By this time, the site's creator had given over $213,000 to the WFP which encourages people to visit FreeRice.com.
For example, On 20 November the WFP launched a campaign to 'feed a child for Thanksgiving'.
Has it Worked?
One month after the inception of the viral marketing program, users had earned enough points for one billion grains of rice. The United Nation's World Food Programme stated that this amount could feed 50,000 people for one day. Thus, approximately 20,000 grains of rice provide enough caloric intake to sustain an adult for one day. Using this calculation, enough rice is donated to feed about 7,000 people daily. In its first six months of operation, FreeRice donated over 25 billion grains of rice.
I think its a great cause, and truly a noble deed. So, when you're bored, instead of playing solitaire because you need something to do, why not help feed those who truly need something?
By helping this cause, you are also helping yourself. Since the game consists of word definitions, you might be suprised