FreeRice.com is the creation of 49-year-old American computer programmer John Breen, and is the sister site of Poverty.com, launched in January 2007 with a counter showing one person dying of hunger every 3.5 seconds. Breen is no stranger to such programs, having created The Hunger Site in June 1999.
As to who foots the bill for the food being donated, the site says: "The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen." As more people play the game, the site racks up more advertising revenue, which in turn is converted into food donations for the hungry.
On 7 October 2007, the first day of the site's operations, only 830 grains were donated. As of 17 November 2007, the number of grains of rice given away amounts to 2,457,120,420
The rice is distributed by the United Nations' World Food Programme an organization that in 2006 reached 87.8 million people in 78 countries.