Copyright © 2002, 1999 by Michael Segers, All rights reserved
|Free food on the Internet? Is this another one of those hoaxes Iíve written about lately? After all, when you think of food and the Internet, you donít think of much more than spam and cookies, and you remember (I hope) to keep your drinks away from your keyboard. And thatís about it... isn't it?||In June of this year (1999) a fascinating new site, The Hunger Site, appeared that changes the relationship of food and the Internet. It may be the most nearly perfect union of technology, commerce, and charity ever seen, in a way that could only take place on the Internet. The idea seems too simple: click on the button once a day, and the siteís advertisers will pay for a donation of food. Iím not talking about steaks for those of us sitting snugly at our computers with our own little Peanut.org but basic grains for hungry folks around the world through donations to the United Nations World Food Program.|
Not dieting, not too busy to cook. Simply, hungry. "About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes," according to one of the many statistics you can find at this site. Hereís another: "Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five."
You are not asked for any money, just the time (less than a minute) to click and see the icons of that dayís sponsors. According to one report, John Breen, the founder and operator of The Hunger Site, forwards any donations he receives to the UN World Food Program. If you look at the specifics about sponsoring, youíll see that it doesnít cost as much as you may think, so sponsorship for a day might be a special way to celebrate a special day.
Doesnít this sound just about too good to be true? And, I have said about Internet hoaxes, that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But this site is strictly on the level. Look at, for example, this article.
Iíve made it part of my daily Internet routine that when I log on at home and at work, I go to The Hunger Site first, and I commend the practice to youóif your boss doesnít mind. With my two clicks, the siteís sponsors donate two cups of food.
As The Straits Times of Singapore says about the typical person surfing the Net, "He gets to do a good deed by just clicking a mouse button each day, with no donations from himself at all. The idea, simple as it is, has worked." Although that should be "he or she," letís hope that this idea, this simply elegant or elegantly simple idea, works for a long, long time.
Once again, as Iíve said many times, the Internet is neither good nor bad. It is a tool, just a tool. If you are looking for racist diatribes or pornography, the Internet is a tool to help you find such things. If you are looking for help with your homework, a support group for your particular need, or just driving directions to tomorrowís appointment, the Internet is a tool for you. If you are looking for a way to get involved with the world, to help with the problems of the world, once again, the Internet is the tool for you.
So, appropriately suspicious, perhaps we should say cautious, about things you find online, with your feet dry and your heart full of noble thoughts, use this wonderful tool called the Internet to be and do your best, and as always, especially as you read the sobering statistics of The Hunger Site, keep a little bit of gratitude in your heart as well.
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