Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fighting Hunger - for Free

Tonight, 1 billion people will go to bed hungry and underfed. And I'll bet that you, like me, turned down a second helping or saved room for dessert at dinner! It's not to make you feel badly or guilty - it's to show the contrast between "us" and "them".

Just as 1 billion go to bed hungry, you and I are 2 of the 1 billion people who are online who can help even out this enormous discrepancy.

And you don't even have to donate money to help (though I encourage you to donate what little you can! More on this later!).

For FREE, you can go to the World Food Programme's website and take The Hunger Quiz. It's very short and interactive, and when you complete it, a meal will be donated to a hungry child (an anonymous donor has agreed to give a meal for each quiz completed!).

That was quick and easy, wasn't it? Just five questions! And maybe you learned that the WFP can feed a child for 25 CENTS per day! Or that most of the world's hungry are in Asia and the Pacific (about 1/2 a billion people! Next is Africa, then S. and Central America, by population). Did you know a school child can be fed on just $50 per year? How much was your last grocery bill? Will that last you all year? Not a chance! Incredible to think about the differences, isn't it? Your food bill probably doesn't constitute 80% of your income, either. Crazy thoughts.

There are other quizzes from the WFP that are just as short and sweet:

Each of these also cause the anonymous donor to donate a meal to a child (I'm really curious to learn the identity of that anonymous philanthropist! I suspect it's Bono, but that's not based on anything apart from the fact I saw a photo of him somewhere on the WFP site!).

Did you rock those quizzes? Well done! Here's another morsel for the mind: you may have learned from one of the WFP quizzes that approximately 2000 calories per day is what the average adult requires to maintain their health. 400 of those calories are needed to run your brain! That's 20% of your food intake! And yet your brain only takes up 2% of your body's mass!

So - let's put your dinner to work and fight hunger around the world via the Power of Your MIND! (Sounds creepy, doesn't it? Keep reading - all will soon be clear!)

FreeRice.com donates 10 grains of rice for each correct response to a multiple choice vocabulary question. For example,

"Expensive" means:
a) last
b) untrue
c) costly
d) bad

So you click "costly", and magically 10 new grains of rice are added to your virtual donation rice bowl! How easy is that? The questions become increasingly difficult as you progress (your "level" out of 60 is posted at the bottom of the screen), so not only will you be helping to feed people for free, you'll also be broadening your personal lexicon. (I can't make it past level "50" - please do comment on this post if you beat it! It's a challenge in which everyone wins!)

There's one more easy way to give food for free (and it's the EASIEST OF THEM ALL!):
Visit The Hunger Site and click on the "Click to Give Free Food" button. I did - nothing weird happens, you just get to donate food!

Click - feed! That's it! (Tell your friends!).

And that concludes the "Fighting Hunger for Free" segment of this post. If I think of any other ingenious solutions that even the most broke student can manage, I'll post them here!

But in the meantime, here are a few things I do to help feed others:

Please tear off one of these and add them to your groceries! I do it every time.

  • At Safeway and IGA Marketplace, there are often "BC Sharing Coupons" mounted on the customer's side of the tills. They come in $2 denominations, and you can simply tear one off and place it on your groceries to make a donation to your local food bank. I DO THIS EVERY TIME I GROCERY SHOP - you can too! $2 doesn't add all that much to a bill (and I've saved at least that several times over by reading the online flyers and shopping wisely anyway!), but over a year it adds up to a sizeable donation. True, you don't get a tax receipt, but that $2 can go so far to purchase fresh produce or dairy for needy families right here in our own community. ALWAYS give to your local food bank. One day you may find yourself reliant on such help - give to the others who need assistance when you can.
  • Sponsor a child. Regular readers of my blog may have noticed my "Sponsorship Quiz - Help Me Choose" widget disappeared when I switched to this new dynamic view thing on Blogger. My husband and I each support a child, through two different organizations. Even on our limited budget, we can cover the combined $60 a month to make sure our friends in Botswana and in Bangladesh have financial support through the aid organizations that are helping their respective villages. $60 is nothing, nothing at all when you see what it provides for two young girls and their families. A few of the many sponsorship charities: World Vision, SOS Children's Villages, Plan, Feed the Children, Compassion Canada . . . there's so many, have a look to find the one that best suits you, or you can read about some of them on my previous post here.
  • Donate to the World Food Programme during famines, and even (perhaps especially) when there aren't. I donated when I heard of the famine in the Horn of Africa this year. Then our church had a special offering for it, so I donated again. Then the Government of Canada said it would match all donations - I donated yet again. I don't miss that money, and I LOVED the fact that my relatively small sum was doubled to something much more substantial. Take full advantage of these 'matching' schemes whenever you hear of them - even if you just give a little, it'll go twice as far!
  • Smart Gift Shopping. Christmas is coming up QUICKLY! Here are some sites that work to resolve hunger around the world:
    • FEED: You may recognize the "FEED 100" reusable shopping bags sold at Whole Foods Markets and Capers a few years back. But there are so much more great "FEED" gifts - including Clairins cosmetics, gorgeous scarves, bracelets, all sorts of cases and bags (very stylish!). Oh my goodness, you can even buy a "FEED" Christmas stocking! If you want to make a statement, or get something uber trendy, shop at FEED!
    • The Hunger Site (The Rainforest Site - Hunger): honestly, there's just so much of everything and anything for sale on this site (even fair trade and recycled - check it out!). I challenge you to NOT find the perfect gift for just about everyone on your list here! Their inventory is jaw-dropping, and some of the gifts are truly innovative.
    • ShopAgainstHunger. Also through the WFP, you can shop the 'mall' of featured merchants (Adidas, Sony, Avon, Verizon, CaseLogic, Drugstore.com, NFL.com, etc.) or browse by category (and we're talking about virtually everything here! Baby, Auto, Electronics, Home & Garden, Apparel, Travel - you name it!). When you shop via the "Shop Against Hunger Mall", donations of food are automatically made through the WFP. So if you want to buy someone a new pair of soccer cleats, or an iPAD, or even winter tires - it all helps to bring food to those who can't imagine the luxury of online shopping. Make your shopping do more - shop via Shop Against Hunger!

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