Nosh Near Neighbors

Develop a platform that assists the homeless in finding food during natural disasters by locating nearby shelters, food banks, and partners.

Photo of Sudiksha Pradhan
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Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


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113 Mcbride Lane, Cedar Park, Texas, 78613

Date You Started Your Project Started

September 18, 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I am hoping to solve the problem of hunger during natural disasters. Many homeless people don't have the supplies or time to gather their necessities when disaster strikes, particularly food. While there are many organizations that provide shelter, the need for a healthy meal is overlooked. We may call this certain group of people "homeless", but we need to take into consideration that are also "foodless" in natural disasters.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

By using my skills in Machine Learning, I hope to develop an app that maps out locations with available food for the homeless to identify. On Python, I plan to use the K-Nearest Neighbors algorithm which plots out the points of where specific food providers are, then points out the nearest food source to the homeless person's location.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Last winter my family and I were on a road trip in New Mexico, when a huge snowstorm struck, forcing us to halt our journey and take shelter in a storm. While we were lucky to be able to continue with our journey the next day, the locals told us that many snow storms tend to keep people stranded in a certain location for days. Specifically the homeless, who do not have a specific source of food/energy, this particular event put into perspective how difficult it can be to follow a normal life during a natural disaster, as well as continuing it afterwards.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When someone downloads the app, or accesses the website, the user is told to share their location so we can map out which locations for food are nearby. Giving the location will also send the user updates on when the natural disaster is nearby, as it is recommended that the user is aware beforehand so it is easier to reach the location. Once they select which option they want to go to, they will need to RSVP that they are arriving at the location and the time the plan to arrive so we can set aside a meal for them. In the beginning stages of the app, they will then rate their experience on the food quality and how easy it was to get to the location for food. This is so we are able to expand to partners and restaurants that are willing to donate leftover food to the homeless in nearby locations to where the they normally reside.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our overall approach uses Machine Learning, which is a constantly expanding method of coding. This includes artificial intelligence for a positive change in the community since most of artificial intelligence is available to those who can afford it. Our service also takes a user's reviews into consideration and hopefully starts a movement in the community for the importance of healthy eating and battling hunger in times of disaster.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

While I haven't started the project, I have been developing the skills needed in Machine Learning over the summer in order to create a fully functioning service. This was through a Machine Learning workshop that Accenture offered. I have also started spreading the idea to my community such as hotel owners, neighbors, and family friends.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I hope to expand this project out of the greater Austin area. Although I am most familiar with this location and where many homeless people reside, Austin is not as severe as a target of natural disasters as Houston is. By reaching out to city developers and surveyors, I hope to find partners near a greater concentration of the homeless population. Our program could also take food stamps into consideration and which locations accept them since that information is not readily available.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • IT Infrastructure/CRM

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • T-Mobile page or contact

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?


1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Matthew Peiffer

This is a fabulous idea and grateful you are taking up a issue that's important to you. That not many people see.