ONLY ON WWAY: Locals create app to help coronavirus victims


    WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A simple post on reddit by a Wilmington man now has people all over the country working to help amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The idea was simple — creating an easy way for those suffering during this crisis to get the help they need.

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    “If I wanted to request food or supplies, I really would have no idea where to begin,” StayNeighbor app creator Sam Hilsman said.

    A digital solution to a complex problem all across the world right now.

    Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, many people have lost their jobs or are quarantined at home and unable to leave.

    “We have a lot of organizations in our community especially, who want to help, but it’s hard to figure out where to go to get that help and to coordinate all those organizations to work together,” Hilsman said.

    Hilsman said there are two facets to his idea. The first is providing a place for those in need to ask for help.

    “You would indicate your name, location, address, zipcode, how many people are in your household. Then you’d go to the next screen and you would indicate what it is that you need,” Hilsman said.

    Those items could include toilet paper, paper towels, eggs, batteries and other essential items.

    The second part of the plan is getting organizations to work together to fulfill those needs.

    “Any organizations that are using StayNeighbor that are in your zipcode would see your order pop up on their map,” Hilsman said.

    After posting his idea on reddit a little over a week ago, people all over the country have jumped on to help create the app.

    “There’s 33 people working on the project right now. Everyone is completely donating their time, it’s completely free. We’re not going to sell the data, we’re not going to collect any licensing fees. We don’t want any profits, we don’t want to see a penny, we just want to help,” Hilsman said.

    Hilsman, who works at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, said everyone has been working 120 hour weeks to roll out the app as quickly as possible.

    They have pilots in communities in Texas and Kansas City on Monday.

    “We’re going to make sure that everything operates as it’s supposed to. If we have to make some small changes in the design or development of that app, we’ll be able to do so at that time,” Hilsman said.

    Hilsman said they’ve been in talks with local organizations and elected officials to get the ball rolling here as well.

    He said they’ve also been in talks with Google about potential help with their effort.

    He expects a beta version of the app to roll out in the next ten days or so.

    Click here to learn more about the project and to preview the app.