The sudden introduction of COVID-19 in our society led to an overwhelming buying spree by people in the United States concerned that they would not be able to buy groceries and supplies for an extended period of time. This behavior had unintended negative consequences as it created massive shortages of basic necessities for people in communities across the country.

What it does

The Giving Spree rebalances the supply and demand of the most in demand products right now during the COVID crisis. The Giving Spree connects people that have excess supplies with those people that are in need of those supplies and at no cost. Simply enter your zip code and indicate if you have items to donate or if you are in need of items. Next, simply arrange a time to drop off/pickup the items in your local neighborhood. Finally, The Giving Spree utilizes a leaderboard to show which donors have contributed the most each month and gives them the opportunity to share with social media and challenge others in their networks to also contribute.

How we built it

We used Adobe XD to design The Giving Spree and then started to build a web-based application with a companion Apple app. We provisioned a compute node on the google cloud and installed a Java toolchain (Java EE, Maven, Glassfish5). We also used Bootstrap for front-end development.

Challenges we ran into

On the technical side, we had challenges provisioning the infrastructure. We found the toolset was not widely supported in the current development environment. The JSP pages in particular meant that front end and back end developers had to merge/co-author assets.

Accomplishments that we’re proud of

We are proud that we operated in an open and inclusive fashion. Everyone was able to contribute and there were not many personality clashes. Although this was the first hackathon for most of our team members and we experienced many challenges during the development, we worked hard together to turn our ideas into reality.

What we learned

We learned that crises often stimulate diverse groups of people to come together. One of the most valuable take-aways for us was to learn how to utilize everyone’s strengths and work collaboratively with a group of international team members. We learned that working with an old technology stack can be inefficient, introduces difficulty provisioning talent and adds a challenge to those brave enough to try. Meanwhile, we also learned to take shortcuts when making a prototype and the importance of keeping up with the times.

What's next for The Giving Spree

Currently the app focuses on people within communities, but we believe the app can be customized to be used by hospitals and government organizations. Additionally, the app is primarily built with the recipient in mind. We could provide more functionality for donors to search for people and organizations in need of supplies. In time, the project will be scaled to include social media challenges so users can encourage others to participate and compete for points. We will need a full-time team continuing to build out the functionality, maintenance and support. The key to success will be adoption and we will need to invest in marketing and PR initiatives in order to make communities aware of The Giving Spree.

Try it out

Github (Website):

Github (Apple mobile app):

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