Seen & Heard
“I thought a lot about how I could use my knowledge of economics to help out essential workers who are struggling during the pandemic,” Guan writes, in an op-ed for New Jersey's Star-Ledger.
“My roommate, Rine Uhm, and I realized that our community was facing a resource mismatch – those who needed basic toiletries and personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, didn’t have them, while those who did not need them had a surplus….In the next 72 hours, my roommate and I created Give Essential, an online matching platform that connects people who have extra household items with essential workers who need them. We created two online forms: one where essential workers can tell us what they need and share their story, and another where donors can list what items they want to donate.
“Our soft launch saw an overwhelming response. We received over 300 requests from essential workers in one day. We quickly realized we were going to need more infrastructure and more hands to handle the high volume of business we were getting. With the help of some friends majoring in computer science, we created a digital algorithm to match donations to donors more efficiently. As Give Essential continued to grow, we built out a full directorate team and a dedicated group of volunteers.”