In light of the recent developments of COVID-19, fear has prompted members of society to stock up on resources, restricting resources for the rest of society. In addition to the limited resources, members of society who are more susceptible to contracting the virus, including elderly and immunocompromised, are unable to leave their homes. Through its simple to use interface, this app was created with the intention of helping those with limited access to resources, by connecting them with those who can help.

What it does

HelpingHand creates a centralized platform for connecting those in need with those who can help. Any user can launch our website as either a sponsor or as a recipient. Sponsors simply input their name and address to find closeby potential recipients, while recipients input their name, address and item needed. Once a recipient requests an item, the recipient's request appears on the built-in map and sidebar containing recipient information.  From there, sponsors may select any recipient on the map and accept their request. Once the request is accepted, the sponsor receives a text with information about the request, and they then deliver the requested item or service to the address of the recipient in need.

How we built it

We built this app using Flask with a combination of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Python. Using Visual Studio Code's Live Share, we were able to view each other's live edits to the workspace. We used the open-source mapping platform, Mapbox, to display our map and its location markers of recipients. Twilio was extremely essential to our project, because we used it to communicate with both sponsors and recipients about their requests. Without Twilio, sponsor and recipient would have been unable to fulfill their requests.

Challenges we ran into

Unfortunately, both members of our group have limited experience using HTML and CSS, and practically no experience using JavaScript. The majority of the learning and debugging we did was on the fly, thanks to StackOverflow and many of the helpful HooHacks organizers. We spent countless hours debugging just the Mapbox platform, as a result of its difficult to understand documentation and lack of experience. Through hard work and perseverance, we were able to work through our problems.

What we learned

While conducting research on topics we could base our web application on, we were shocked by the number of immunocompromised people. 10 million people just in the United States. This made us realize how truly lucky we are, inspiring us to create this web app for the less fortunate. In terms of Computer Science, we made significant strides in our knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This project allowed us to gain a new perspective on web-development and its applications. We are truly grateful for this opportunity to improve our computer science skills.

What's next for Helping Hand

Although there are a respectable number of people who would be willing to sacrifice their own resources for those who are less fortunate, in the future we hope to improve sponsor experience by marketing the service to people on social media. We've seen many examples of people on FaceBook and Reddit asking how they can help in the local community during these trying times. We hope to allow these people to easily use our platform to help the greater community.

Try It out



flask, javascript, mapbox, python

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