After learning that more than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak, five Valencia High School juniors have launched an online platform designed to make it easier for affected residents to help each other.
SupplyNeighbor.com allows people within a neighborhood to request needed items, such as face masks, groceries and hand sanitizers, or to offer supplies for their neighbors in need.
“About 26 million people lost their jobs to the coronavirus and they’re stressing out because they don’t know how they’re going to pay for supplies for their families. So, what we wanted to do is build a website where neighbors can interact with each other and request or donate to other people and they can log in when they need it,” said Avi Basnet, the student spearheading the platform.
He is joined by his friends Fabio Nuñez Del Prado, Nicholas Moy, Hayden Lee and Joseph Lee, all juniors who are looking to pursue computer and biological science majors in college.
How it works
Residents must fill out an online form for requests or offers, listing their names and contact information and a description of what they need or what they can provide.
Users can also view nearby requests and offers in their area, organized by ZIP codes.
The platform was designed as a self-serve option for neighbors within a community to help each other, and in essence, help reduce the number of people having to leave their homes in an effort to lower the chances of spreading the novel coronavirus among the general public.
“We designed it to work a little different from the usual delivery service because most charge a delivery fee. So, we wanted to make it in a way where people help each other at little to no cost if they can’t afford to spend additional money or are too afraid to go out to a traditional store,” said Basnet.
Since its launch about a week ago, the Valencia High students said more than 200 people have created an account with SupplyNeighbor and 30-plus requests have since been received, with personal protective gear and disinfectants as the most requested items. While most inquiries have come from within the Santa Clarita Valley, the platform has also received interest from outside California, including from Colorado, according to Nuñez Del Prado.
The students are working to partner with local organizations, such as Grace Baptist Church and food pantries, to reach additional people in need.
The goal is to continue to grow SupplyNeighbor even after the end of the quarantine, Lee said.
“The reality is, even outside of quarantine, there are still people in need,” he said, “and there’s people who have a surplus of items so we just want to create a connected society even after quarantine.”