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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Click your mouse and feed 50,000 people

LONDON (Reuters) - A food-linked word game put on the Internet a month ago has proved a runaway success and has already generated enough rice to feed 50,000 people, the United Nations World Food Programme said on Friday.

FreeRice offers participants multiple choice definitions to the meaning of a word, with each correct click generating 10 grains of rice for the WFP.

The brainchild of American online fundraising pioneer John Breen, the Web site (www.freerice.com) relies on advertising revenue to underwrite its rice campaign.

"FreeRice really hits home how the Web can be harnessed to raise awareness and funds for the world's number one emergency," said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the Rome-based WFP.

"The site is a viral marketing success story with more than one billion grains of rice donated in just one month to help tackle hunger worldwide," she added.

The day it was launched on October 7 just 830 grains of rice were donated.

But the Internet community quickly caught on, and on November 8 alone 77 million grains were donated -- equivalent to more than seven million correct clicks.

Reporting by Jeremy Lovell; editing by Richard Williams
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