December 15th, 1999

The Hunger Site

by Marvin Leach • in The Internet

the hunger site

The Internet is a colossal waste of time. Oh, let’s make good use of our Reader’s Digest word power and say that it’s brobdingnagian; a trance-inducing super TV with a near-infinite selection of channels, and nothing on. Sure, there are a few good sites here and there, but finding something worthwhile can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack — of needles!

Okay, it’s the soapbox talking, but you’ve got to agree that there’s a significant amount of noise to sort through if you’re looking for some half-decent signal on the web. But what are your odds of finding a site that actually lets you do good? A site where point-and-click does more than hyperlink to yet another diversionary page? Pretty slim to nothin’, I’ll wager. But there ARE such sites out there in the ether. Honest to Pete!

The Hunger Site happens to be one of those rarities. Not a pretty site — in fact a fairly homely web presence. But here it’s the message that wins out over the medium, and that message is “DONATE FREE FOOD.” One quick click, not a penny out of your pocket, and you’re rewarded with the page that reads, “You have donated 2-1/2 cups of rice, wheat, maize or other staple food to a hungry person, adding to over 200 tons weekly. Recent totals topped 1 million cups a day.” And here’s the best part: these people are as legit as Pepto Bismol is pink.

Don’t believe me, oh cynical reader? (Shame on you.) Fix your peepers on the missive from the United Nations Food Program. Or take a gander at the posting on about.com’s Urban Legend page. This is the real deal, folks! It’s one of those things that sounds too good to be true, but (God bless you, Geraldo Rivera) this time it’s TRUE! Ten seconds out of your day (you can donate once per day) and you’ve done good, my friend! Set up the Hunger Site as your starting page, and when you fire up your browser for a morning fix of news, weather and up-to-the-nanosecond computer gossip, you can start your day on the good foot and do the right thing.

One little piece of advice, though. You may feel pretty warm and fuzzy about doing a little good. But please, please don’t get all giddy and go e-mailing everyone@internet.com extolling the virtues of the site. Tell your friends, family, and acquaintances, sure, but don’t get all green-eggs-and-SPAM. That kind of inappropriate behaviour only hurts a legitimate entity like The Hunger Site. In fact, the organization is concerned enough about spam to post a warning against it on their site.

So you’ve contributed through The Hunger Site, and you’ve let your closest e-pals in on the fun. Why not continue your philantrophic tour through the Net? If you’re hooked on shopping while you browse, there are several sites that serve as shopping portals for big on-line stores like amazon.com. A percentage of each purchase through the portal goes towards a charity of your choice. Greatergood.com is a swell example of this, and charityvillage.com has a good listing of even more charity affiliates.

So maybe the internet ain’t all bad. And maybe neither am I. Just don’t get me started on morning show DJ’s. That’s a whole other kettle of kippers.

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