When Teriqq Plowden and Samma Chowdhury first banded with their classmates at the Secondary School for Journalism, in Brooklyn, NY, to create an app aimed at solving student hunger, they were faced with many coding and design challenges that left the students feeling defeated, wondering if their project would ever come to fruition.
One year later, the successful app, Moesy, has provided hundreds of meals to low-income students at the Secondary School for Journalism and thrust the small school into the national spotlight, earning them the national winner title in Samsung’s 2017 Solve for Tomorrow Contest. Now, with the season of giving in full swing, the students have their sights set on something bigger, beyond just their school:They’re launching the Moesy app in the Brooklyn market in hopes of providing reliable, hot meals for children in need across the community, while rallying local restaurants and organizations to support the cause.
According to the USDA, U.S. consumers waste approximately $161 billion dollars of food every year. Further, 78 percent of students at the Secondary School for Journalism receive free or reduced-price lunch, which is often their only meal of the day. Plowden and Chowdhury knew there had to be a way to take the excess food from local restaurants and get it into the hands of kids who need it most.
The students started networking in the Brooklyn community and pitched their idea to local restaurants and shops, asking if they would be willing to join the app and donate leftover meals as part of their community-giving initiatives. Plowden and Chowdhury even offered to track all donations and provide data analytics to each of the participating restaurants to showcase their impact in the community and also reduce food waste. The Moesy app has been well received, and the students are working to develop a network of participating restaurants in their Brooklyn neighborhood.
To be eligible for free dinners through the Moesy app, students must be registered to receive free or reduced-price lunch under the NYC Department of Education. Participating schools must have a school administrator serve as the Moesy representative, who will approve Moesy membership to low-income students. From there, students can use the app to reserve meals at participating restaurants and pick up a hot meal after school. The app also encourages school attendance, as students are unable to reserve or pick up meals through the app if they miss school that day.
While the app has been successfully providing meals for students at the Secondary School for Journalism in its pilot phase, Plowden and Chowdhury are just getting started.
Fueled by their passion for helping others, Plowden and Chowdhury, now college students, are working with students at their high school to officially launch the Moesy app and to generate buzz during the holidays they are organizing an event for this month called, “Merry Moesy Christmas” with the goal of continuing their mission and providing students who rely on free or reduced-price lunch can receive free meals during the holiday break from school.
To download the Moesy app and learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.moesy.org.
About Solve for Tomorrow
Designed to boost interest and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), this nationwide contest, sponsored by Samsung, challenges public school teachers and students in grades 6-12 to show how STEAM can be applied to help improve their local community.