Source AP ©

Kids have chance to give charity as part of new program

Kids who earn virtual cash in the popular online world "Club Penguin" can participate in charity program.

"It's showing the kids they can truly make a difference," said Lane Merrifield, a co-founder of Club Penguin, which is based in British Columbia and was purchased last summer by The Walt Disney Co.

In the Club Penguin world, kids win gold coins by playing games such as sled racing and, with a paid membership, buy virtual items like furniture and clothing.

Starting Dec. 14 and running through Dec. 24, kids can choose to donate their virtual money to support the environment, children's health or children's education.

The company will then split $1 million (680,000 EUR) in real dollars among three charities - the World Wildlife Fund, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Free The Children.

The Canadian Web site donated a little more than $30 million (20.5 million EUR) to charity after Disney agreed to pay $350 million for it. The sellers could get another $350 million if certain profit goals are reached.