LHS student's Solve Hunger app targets universal needs
Libertyville High School junior Tavish Sharma couldn't ignore the growing problem of food insecurity as he donated food to The El Puente Latino Food Bank in Waukegan this spring.
"The line of people waiting for food was a mile long." Tavish recalled.
He was concerned there was not enough food for everyone. His concern was fully realized when reached out to local food pantries to investigate their needs.
"El Puente and Saint Joseph's food banks were not taking in enough food to meet their needs," Tavish said.
He also learned local soup kitchens were not receiving necessary ingredients to create meaningful meals. Every food charity he contacted was struggling to gather enough food donations through direct and monetary means.
Tavish's research motivated him to create neighborhood food and sandwich drives for local food banks through social media and email. Although these drives were successful by local standards, Tavish realized food charities required a platform to support expanded communication and better fulfill unmet hunger needs. He began to think outside the food donation box.
Tavish's technological talent soon led him to create an innovative mobile application he aptly named "Solve Hunger." This app features a platform for donors to easily give food or money to local shelters and allows donors to volunteer for designated shifts.
"My app gives opportunities for people to volunteer and donate to replenish struggling pantries across the area," Tavish said. "The app is a sure way for communities and volunteers to have an abundance of ways to help."
The Solve Hunger app was used to systematically organize a "Wheels for Meals" Food Drive Oct. 11 in Libertyville's Wineberry neighborhood. During the drive, volunteers of all ages rode a bike, pulled a wagon, or pushed a stroller and picked up sacked, donated nonperishable food from their neighbors' driveways.
Dozens of containers were filled with donations by the end of the successful drive.
Tavish's eighth-grade sister, Suhani, created the Solve Hunger logo. The logo's "o" and "v" in "Solve" are depicted by Earth and heart symbols, respectively. The Earth represents Tavish's goal of universal accessibility to food as he expands his platform. The heart represents love, a word without which solve can't be spelled.