Inspiration

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for food relief per week has nearly doubled. More than 43% of Australians are going a day in a week without eating. As a result, charities and food banks are seeing a huge demand for food relief. Times like these is when food relief has become more crucial than ever.

What it does

This is where FoodMatch comes in. FoodMatch is a website that enables food “gifters” to find suitable food banks near their local area to donate food to. Instead of throwing away nearly expired food, “gifters” can simply go on FoodMatch, find suitable food banks and gift their food to them. “gifters” will be shown their closet food bank and the most relevant food bank and what food items they need.

How we built it

FoodMatch is a website built using Javascript, HTML and CSS along with Bootstrap. The back end of the website that deals with the “gifters” data are done using Python. We used MapBox API to help “gifters” find their closet food bank. “Recommendation system” in Python to help “gifters” match with the most relevant items the food banks need.

Challenges we ran into

As a team, we faced a few challenges that ranged from our idea of communicating effectively with the team. For our idea, we had to pivot our idea from a “gifter” to direct “receiver”, to a “gifter” direct to a food bank/charity organisation. We did this as the platform needed to be fair and safe for users and many issues could arise from P2P communication. In addition, there could be regulation issues with the food that is given directly to receivers. We believe food banks have the experience and expertise to deal with food items and are the appropriate recipient.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of working with people that come from different backgrounds. Each team member possessed different skills that enabled our project to be completed and create something that may be able to help the environment. Team members varied from their tech stack, soft skills, location and hackathon experience.

What we learned

Being able to pivot our idea as quickly as possible. Given the limited time of this event, being able to pivot our idea to a more suitable idea has led to producing a relevant product. The suggestions from our mentors gave us the clarity needed to pivot our product into something that will have less legal and regulatory issues. We are also proud of being able to produce a product and pitch in such a limited time.

What’s next for FoodMatch?

Scale this to a billion-dollar company (just kidding!). If possible, FoodMatch could collaborate with other large supply chains such as Coles and Woolworths and provide the logistical delivery of the food. Instead of needing the “gifters” to travel to the food banks, “gifters” can put the food into the delivery trucks and it will be delivered to the food bank. Most importantly, FoodMatch should enable “gifters” and food banks to create a community to benefit the people in need.

As this product continues to develop and expand the user base, this can be expanded not only in Melbourne but in different states such as NSW or even nationwide. By expanding the userbase, we hope to create a community happy to give back to the community and reduce food waste in their local area.

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