VALENCIA (CBSLA) — Five juniors from Valencia High School built a website designed to help people who cannot leave their homes and those who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“These people are living in fear, stress,” 16-year-old Avi Basnet. “How are they going to pay for their next meal? How are they going to pay for the daily supplies they need?”
Basnet and his friends said the idea behind the platform they created, Supply Neighbor, is to allow residents in a neighborhood to request and receive items they need quickly — such as disinfectant, face coverings and groceries — from other area residents. A person in a nearby zip code can then deliver extra supplies to those in need.
“No one knew what our website was going to be like,” 16-year-old Hayden Lee said. “But once they started to see that we could actually supply items, I think that’s what motivated them to say, ‘Oh, these kids are supplying items, maybe we should try that as well.'”
The teens started off by donating their own items and then saw a huge response from community members donating their extra supplies. And the teens soon found that people who received items also wanted to be part of the cycle of giving.
“They’ve asked to give back to us, and that’s why we also are trying to reach out to other organizations such as Family Promise and local churches, so we can get more volunteers, more supplies and groceries and all that,” 16, year-old Fabio Nunez Del Prado said.
To participate, residents fill out a form online, provide their name, contact information and a description of what they need or what they can give. After filling out the form, they can see requests and offers nearby, organized by zip code.
“We’re getting really positive feedback from the people who we are supplying and helping,” 16-year-old Nicholas Moy said. “And this is shown when they decide they want to turn around and give back to their community.”
The teens are also finding that the website is building a sense of community when so much of daily life has been interrupted.
“I’m really glad that during a time of quarantine where no one can control this, everyone is just uniting and working together to help a cause.” 16-year-old Joseph Lee said. “So that’s what really hit me.”
The 16-year-old boys said after the pandemic ends, they want to continue to grow their website because they say there will always be people in need.