The cake above has one candle for each one of the top 25 contributors in the rondamma free rice group
. Today is Ronda's 25th birthday and I was trying to think of some way to recognize some people who have been really involved in the free rice group and it all came together. You'll have to forgive me on the art work. As I always tell people, I aced multivariate statistics in my doctoral program and failed art in junior high and that pretty much sums up my talents.
The group has donated over 5,700,000 grains of rice which is enough to feed over 1,600 people. The top 25 people are each represented by a candle. The two top guys, Tim Riggins and Ryan Ghidina, have donated a million grains of rice between them, and the top 25 people alone have donated enough rice to feed over 1,000 hungry people.
So what does all of this have to do with being proud of Ronda?
Well, people say that to me all of the time,
"You must be really proud of your daughter!"
And I think ,
"Well, yes, but not so much more than of her sisters."
Of course, I love all of my children.
Jennifer teaches middle school to children who have a lot of disadvantages in life and Jenn pours her heart and soul into it. Teaching takes an enormous amount of dedication and hard work. Plus, it makes a huge difference in other people's lives.
Maria is a sports writer and the mother of one, soon to be two. She's been a board member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists for many years and mentored many students. She has also taught at Tufts University and Emerson College. Being a writer, professor and terrific mother takes a lot of dedication and hard work. It makes a huge difference in other people's lives.
Julia is only 13 years old but she is a good kid, studies hard, is very dedicated to her soccer team and has a kind heart. I'm proud of her, too.
Ronda is good at beating people up. She has been to two Olympics, won a bucket of medals and trains her ass off. Now she is doing really well in mixed martial arts. Certainly no mother can complain about a child who is hard-working, disciplined, responsible and stays out of trouble. Plus, Ronda, like her little sister, is genuinely soft-hearted.
Lately, though, Ronda has done something that really made me proud of her. She has been cutting weight for the 135 lb world title and, instead of being all focused on feeling sorry for herself and bemoaning how tough her lot is in life, she decided to use her weight cut to draw attention to people who are hungry every day. She started a group on free rice.com
, an organization that donates money to the World Food Program every time someone plays their on-line game. (Check it out, it's free.)
Winning medals is good. Winning world titles is good. Encouraging enough people to feed 1,600 starving people in a week is amazing. People like Tim Riggins, Ryan Ghidina, Ritchie, Yariv, Frankie - I hope I get to meet you some day. Look at the names under those candles above - what a kind thing to do when you have time to just click here and there and feed other people you will never know.
There are over 400 members of the group now. Many, like me, have only donated 15,000 grains of rice or less. I'm busy, and I feel a bit bad about that, but, on the other hand, that is four meals for people who would have had none.
So, happy birthday, pumpkin! I am happy when you win, and I am nervous as hell when you compete but I am really proud of you for using your competitive experience to encourage people to think about world hunger.
See you tonight, we'll have presents for you. But no cake - you still have to cut weight!