Some say college is the best time of life. Others say it is a time to solely pursue your degree. But we think that everybody should be able to enjoy college, not having to worry about food insecurities.
What it does
Welcome to the Kitchen Project. We are a team dedicated to connecting restaurants and students through hosting of food banks and creating food drives locally, across the USA. The Kitchen Project is a website that serves as a hub for students to connect to Food banks and vice versa.
Food banks can post events that they are hosting, providing key details such as date, location, and time via the "Post Event" tab. This is then added to a directory under the "Events List" tab, where students can look for upcoming food drives. An important aspect of tackling food insecurity is also keeping options inclusive and diverse. Hence, key details are posted in this directory, such as if the food drive event caters to specific dietary restrictions
If students want to keep updated on food drive events, they can sign up for a subscription system via the "Student Registration" page on the website. After supplying some personal details, they will be able to receive text notifications when there is an upcoming food drive event in their city.
How we built it
Building upon Python and using its framework (Flask), we were able to easily connect the frontend to the backend. Having little to no experience in frontend programming, it took a long time for us to gather all the knowledge and resources to finish the page. The backend is composed of MySql and its servers, to create a database suitable for the project. This would include actions such as creating an event and being able to find them on the same website. Finally, email/text reminders using twilio. This part was relatively simple, but long in the application, as it was all of our first time using it!
Challenges we ran into
There were many challenges, but the one we ran into that got us washed up was the time zones. We were 12 hours apart from each other, hacking from Hong Kong, South Africa, and USA. Many of us sacrificed sleep to finish this project but in the end, we accomplished a lot! A technical program that was very difficult was the workload. I believe we set our expectations high and though we did not meet every goal we wanted to, we were on the track and definitely would have.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of our interactive website and the amount of information as well as the reliable program it brings.
What we learned
As relative beginners to backend, we learned more about how to use flask, as well as some MySQL and Twilio! We were also able to develop more knowledge on how to animate parts of the frontend of the website, such as the navigation bar.
What's next for the Kitchen Project
The future is looking good for the Kitchen Project. We hope to further develop The Kitchen Project by expanding to include soup kitchens, church cookouts and more! With more users and institutions known, it will become normalized for food banks to be used by students facing food insecurity. We also want to expand on the maps feature by integrating the Google Maps API I through Google Cloud and use Google Place Autoconnect so that we are able to locate the nearest Food Bank and make a direct connection from restaurants. Lastly, we would also like to expand on a Twilio based email notification feature that would allow restaurants to alert food banks if they have surplus food for donations.