Food Force
One of the purposes of ELCA World Hunger is to help people learn about hunger and its root causes. And it seems to me, if we can teach people when they’re young, so much the better! They will grow up with a better awareness of the world and their role in it. Which is why I think Food Force is such fun!

Food Force is a free computer game produced by the United Nations World Food Programme. It introduces a couple of causes of hunger, and spends time explaining some basics about the work of international aid organizations. All of this is done by making the player a member of a relief team responsible for getting food to hungry people in a fictional location. It’s intended for kids ages 8 to 13, and I can easily see how it would be a hit with that age group. It’s a bit too basic to really draw in older kids and adults, but having said that, I think most any age group would have fun with it once. I know I both enjoyed it and learned some things! And any age group could use it to open deeper discussion about causes of hunger, the nature of aid, and the roles of relief and long-term development.

Another thing I really like is the web site that goes with it. In addition to the game, there’s information about hunger in the world, real anti-hunger initiatives, nutrition, and support for teachers who want to use Food Force in the classroom. Admittedly, I’m not sure kids are going to spend much time with the additional information, but for parents and teachers who want to create more depth and structure around a Food Force experience, it’s really helpful.

So if you’ve got some time to kill this weekend, check it out! Just don’t do it tonight from 8 to 9 p.m. – it’s Earth Hour and you ought to turn your computer off along with your lights!