Kids Doing Good Stuff: Teens create app to save surplus food for food bank

Technology can do many things, and two Wilson High School students plan to help change the world with it.

Marley Bennett and Juliette Coia are seniors at Wilson. Both excel in school, but it was something outside of class that really got them motivated.

“We both worked at a restaurant nearby and they wasted a ton of food at the end of every week, and that was pretty frustrating for us,” said Marley.

As computer science students, they thought they could do something about it. So they created an app that connects people who needed food to places getting rid of it.

“In the camp we made this app to connect food banks with restaurants, so restaurants could donate their extra food at the end of each day and know exactly where the food was going to, Marley said.

After winning a congressional app competition, they auditioned to be considered for a new national award.

Marley and Juliette’s team was the only one in Oregon selected to be involved in the competition. They upgraded what they wanted their app to do.

“So the next level of app is to connect not just food banks and individuals but other organizations, because there are a lot of goods and services that are overlooked when people are donating, like hygiene products and things like that. And also just volunteers, there’s a lot of places that need volunteers, but it’s hard, also, to communicate,” Juliette said.

If they win, the STEM program at Wilson gets $15,000 and they get training from MIT developers.

“I don’t think they really understand the magnitude of the things that they’ve done,” said Chris Bartlo, a computer science teacher at Wilson High School. “Almost every other team just submitted a proposal for an app, and they actually made the app.”

Marley and Juliette are ready for the next level of support.

“It would be nice to have extra support, because we are high school students. I mean we have a lot of support here, but outside high school, we don’t have tons of traction or places to go, so it would be nice to have national recognition to help us,” Marley said.

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