Right now people everywhere are trying to figure out how to manage daily life after suddenly being forced to stay home. The most vulnerable people will have a hard time finding items they need since people and services they relied on may not be available for their own safety. We wanted to find a way to not only help them have a place to ask for assistance but to also make contact with people who have the means to help them get items and pay for items. Most importantly somebody in need should just have to ask for help and those who are able can do the rest.
What it does
Receives requests from anybody who needs help via a simple web form. That request is sent to a community of volunteers on Slack. Requests in this community can be claimed and fulfilled easily be volunteers. Payment is facilitated by GoFundMe and delivery is facilitated by Postmates.
How we built it
We relied heavily on Slack's Block Kit and Bolt frameworks to merge a simple workflow with an active conversation of volunteers. Steps of the workflow call existing APIs from GoFundMe and Postmates as needed and on success, trigger the next steps of this workflow.
Challenges we ran into
Keeping the technology bar low for receiving requests to make sure this can be useful to as many people as possible who need it. Keeping it as easy as possible for volunteers to help with as little time commitment as possible. Parenting while working from home is a challenge for many people these days and hackathon participants are no exception. :-)
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Creating an end to end workflow in a very short amount of time. An architecture that could handle scale and costs very little to run and maintain. We aim to empower, not replace existing services.
What we learned
Things can come together really quickly if you start with a plan and give everybody an area of focus. There are lots of existing organizations that aim to get food to vulnerable people who have existed long before this pandemic, though it would be useful to have a streamlined way for people to find the best services to match their need with a lot of technology bar.
What's next for Home Helper
Start building a community of people in need and volunteers ready to help them. Reach out to existing organizations in each jurisdiction who have the infrastructure for fulfillment and delivery but could benefit from our communication infrastructure to connect directly with members of their community.
Try It out
bolt, express.js, gofundme, react, slack, yelp