Drew Brees Teams Up With WFP In The Ricebowl Challenge

Published on 28 January 2011

ROME/NEW ORLEANS – Super Bowl 2010’s Most Valuable Player Drew Brees and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are challenging students and sports fans to team up for a different kind of bowl game this February, with the goal of beating global hunger.

The Ricebowl Challenge is a week-long competition organised by the award-winning on-line vocabulary game, Freerice.com, in partnership with the Maine Department of Education. New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees is the all-star of the competition, going head-to-head against thousands of students in Maine and across the country to answer trivia questions which earn grains of rice for the hungry.

“The Ricebowl Challenge is all about playing smart to tackle hunger,” said Brees, who will be building his team through his well-established social media network. “Whether you join my team or the opposing student team, this is a cause worth winning.”

Since taking the web by storm in 2007, Freerice.com has raised enough rice to feed more than 4.3 million people for a day.  During the Ricebowl Challenge - February 6 through February 12 – players will compete to see who can tally the most correct answers to the game’s trivia questions, and thus earn the most grains of rice for the hungry. For every correct answer, ten grains of rice are donated through WFP and paid for by advertisers.

“The challenge is on,” said Nancy Roman, Director of Communication and Private Sector Parnterships for WFP. “With Drew Brees at the helm of the Ricebowl, we have a fantastic opportunity to leverage social media networks across the nation and to see what an online community of hunger-fighting trivia fans can do in the fight against hunger.”

One early front-runner on the students’ team is the Maine Department of Education’s 1:1 laptop program, the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI).   MLTI has already started to tackle hunger, challenging nearly 100,000 students in grades 7 through 12 to battle for the Bowl in a public school event.  The organizers in Maine are going the extra yard for their state, approaching local businesses to match what is raised online as a contribution to local area food banks.  

“Our state school laptop program is all about using technology to help students think globally while acting locally.  The Ricebowl Challenge is the perfect platform for us to learn about hunger – both here and abroad, brush up on some key subjects and be a part of a solution,” said Jeff Mao, the state’s director of learning technology policy. 

For more information about how schools and individuals can join the competition, go to www.freerice.com/ricebowl.  Results will be tallied daily from February 6-12 and the top three scorers who rack up the most rice by February 12th win Drew Brees-autographed footballs.

For further information:
Jeff Mao, MLTI, Tel. 207 624-6634, Mob. 207 798-2460