We wanted to create a destination for people to connect and communicate with shelters. Through our website, we hoped to provide an idea that donation isn't something that should be difficult. By using The Shelter Coalition, users are able to find a shelter in need with little effort. In the midst of the pandemic, people in need are looking for more help than before. The shelters providing for them are working hard and we wanted to contribute to the positive work.
What it does
Our site provides a place for any person to find a shelter to donate to. Any shelter in need can input items that they would like to receive through donations. Once that information is in the database, users can use the website to easily find a shelter and its needs by location. There is also the opportunity for the user with excess of an item to find a location that needs it most. The site is intended to be constantly updated by the shelters we partner with.
How I built it
The base of the site is HTML and styled with CSS. The locators and donation databases were built with Python.
Challenges I ran into
It was difficult to figure out how to help someone find the most convenient shelter for them based off of location and needed items. We eventually created Python programs that helped with that. When coding the "donation finders", we had to learn how to make an inventory of which shelters are in need of which items through lists and dictionaries.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are super proud of our ability to get this project completed considering the obstacles of being apart. We are proud of the functionality of the site taking into account that only one person on the team had experience with HTML. We were also able to use the internet and learn many new things.
What I learned
Unironically, we learned a lot about the importance of communication during this hackathon. We discovered how crucial sharing direct and accessible information really is through the process of brainstorming our topic, research into different shelters and the current information availability (or lack thereof) on donating, and even just the navigation of five different teenagers’ schedules to find times to meet. These experiences gave us a greater appreciation for the possibilities of improving communication via technology and helped show us that the project that we were making could be really beneficial.
What's next for The Shelter Coalition
We’d love to be able to expand our reach past Philadelphia and into other communities, eventually allowing folks from all over the world to get connected with their local shelters. Additionally, to accommodate for expanding, we would like to create a feature where shelters who are already in the database can edit their wish lists and make a more comprehensive input program so new shelters can enter their name, location and website. The Shelter Coalition has the power to become a really amazing communication platform and extremely useful website for both places in need and those who wish to give.