Stuck at our AirBnB in California for some (canceled) college visits, it felt like the world was unraveling day by day. We watched as California shut down around us, keeping close tabs on the worsening situation back in home in New Jersey. We wanted to help, but we weren't sure how. When comparing the global COVID-19 pandemic to a natural disaster or zombie apocalypse, we realized some things:

  1. The internet connection is still working.
  2. There are tons of people who need help.
  3. There are tons of people who want to help.
  4. There's no easy way for these people to find each other.

So, we took these four observations and built a corona-virus volunteer match site for anyone to find or offer help, whether it be delivery, errands, online tutoring, or just a friend to talk to.

What it does

19CovAid is a volunteer match site to allow helpers and recipients of support find each other and choose support to match their interest and needs. Users can create an account and post an offer of help or a request for assistance to their local community, then browse all of the posts. Once they find a post that matches their needs, they can ping the user who posted and stay in touch via instant messaging on the site. There is also a dashboard for helpers and "helpees" to keep track of all of their matches and posts for easy organization.

How we built it

Lots of late nights and coffee.

Challenges we ran into

We built this in less than a week, and it was really hard to keep track of the many user screens and the flow of data. We often got mixed up and confused which part of the site we were editing, and it was hard to figure out the most intuitive flow for users. Once we started user testing, we did some major surgery on the site to make it easy to use.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of how dedicated the team was to building this, and the fact that we launched a fully functional site in under a week. Staying motivated and keeping the grind going was exhausting, but we all pushed through and are very satisfied with the current product.

What we learned

Simplicity is key, and you are racing against the clock. There is tremendous need during these times, but there are so many amazing people who want to help.

What's next for 19CovAid

We are focusing on growth by reaching out to as many people as possible. We are contacting many local individuals, nonprofits, organizations, as well as spreading the word on social media.

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