The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Dartmouth Students Start Online Platform to Help Essential Workers

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Public policy students, Amy Guan ’20 and Rine Uhm ’22, were recently featured in The Dartmouth. 

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Two Dartmouth students have joined together to help essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Amy Guan ’20 and Rine Uhm ’22 have built an online platform to match essential workers with donors to provide them with everything from children's toys to soap and shampoo.

Guan and Uhm, former roommates, came up with the idea for the platform, called Give Essential, on April 8. By April 10, they had the website up and running. Workers in essential jobs who are unable to work from home during the pandemic — such as grocery clerks and delivery drivers — can use the online platform to identify things they need, from COVID-19 protection to toiletries to games to gift cards. Donors can then fill out a form detailing what they are able to provide. 

Give Essential facilitates matches between requests and donations, then provides donors with information about how to mail, hand-deliver or electronically deliver items to workers, usually in the donor’s area, according to Uhm. She added that workers can choose whether or not to provide their names.

Guan said that she reached out to Uhm after noticing a lack of support for certain essential workers.

“I happened to start noticing a lot of news about how grocery delivery drivers are being mistreated — how they often lack protection, how they aren’t getting pay raises — and I thought this was a really huge problem,” Guan said.

The pair began brainstorming ways they could help from home. They had taken ECON 77/PBPL 43, “Social Entrepreneurship” together during the winter term and realized what they were seeing is what’s known as a “resource mismatch”: a term indicating a distribution problem, where those who need certain things don’t have them, and other groups have a surplus.

Read the full article about Give Essential and the work being done for essential workers here

Blake McGill ’22 also helped spread the news. As an intern for the Michael Smerconish Show, McGill founded a daily newsletter for the radio show and shared the story with his over 12,000 readers. 

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