Quick, define “anemophilous.” Don’t know? That’s OK, neither did I. What if I told you that you could learn the answer while helping fight hunger? All you need to do is visit freerice.org. Created by John Breen, a father trying to come up with a better, more engaging (and interactive) way to help his kids learn vocabulary, Free Rice is addicting in its simplicity. All you do is choose from multiple-choice definitions of a featured word. But the part that moves it beyond enjoyable, to a compelling act of positive change, is that for every word you get correct, Free Rice donates 20 grains of rice to the United Nation’s hunger relief efforts. You see, Breen already had a passion: Working to end world poverty and hunger. His first website, poverty.com, is a tremendous resource for learning about global hunger, and taking action against it.
I love words, and not just in the “I really like to read” way. I’m the kind of person who could spend hours in the hammock with the Oxford American Dictionary and call it a good day (bourbon helps with this). So it was with great joy that I discovered Free Rice earlier this fall. Since it’s creation in October, Free Rice has donated 10,604,716,470 grains of rice, and I’m glad to know that I’ve helped. So far, I’ve hit the wall at level 46. Let me know if you crack that (without a dictionary). Oh, anemophilous, which was my most recent nemesis, means “wind-pollinated.”