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Bay Area techies developing apps to help during COVID-19 crisis


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s tech-savvy minds are working in overdrive trying to help during the COVID-19 crisis. Since the outbreak began, new free apps have been developed to help individuals and communities navigate a time of uncertainty and stay healthy.

One of these new apps set to launch next week, Kart to Kitchen, connects food banks with people who may otherwise go hungry.

“We are partnering with local food banks throughout the Bay Area to essentially expedite the process of delivering food. The coronavirus is putting a huge stress on the systems that already exist for food banks, so we are trying to mitigate the stress on those systems,” said Darren D’Silva, 19, of Concord.

Kart to Kitchen was created over the past month by D’Silva and nine other young app developers who are members of an East Bay-based tech startup, Nize.

The use of local food banks during this time of crisis has increased substantially and as a result of this high volume, food banks are struggling to get meals out to everyone safely.

“We have seen the lines outside of food banks. A lot more people are using food banks,” D’Silva said.

The app helps food banks expedite the current meal delivery process by allowing users to pick out items and request food delivery from local food banks, while also staying at home to socially distance and lower chances of the virus spreading.

Logan Dickey, a Foothill High School student in Pleasanton and Nize team member said, “This is a perfect opportunity and time to help our community.”

Dickey said the Nize team plans to expand the app to also include students covered under the National School Lunch Program, so kids who usually receive meals at school will not be faced with hunger during a public health crisis.

Another free app developed in the Bay Area tackles backlogs, long lines, and scheduling confusion for coronavirus testing sites.

San Francisco-based tech company Skedulo created a capacity-based appointment booking app that testing facilities can use to schedule and organize administering COVID-19 tests.

To safely end stay-at-home orders and open up the economy again, experts say the rate of testing for coronavirus needs to increase rapidly. The app aims to increase the number of people receiving tests by increasing speed and efficiency at testing sites.

“It became pretty clear pretty quickly that … healthcare workers who were administering the tests for COVID needed some help,” said Miles Kelly of Skedulo.

A prototype of the app was developed by the Skedulo team in one week, and testing labs in New York and New Jersey have already began using it. The app is free and available on the Saleforce app exchange.

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