Kansas City man develops app for Austinites in need to connect with those who can help during pandemic

KVUE

AUSTIN, Texas — Piero Pretto developed the COVID-19 Donation Map app about a month ago. It can connect people who can help during the coronavirus crisis with those who need help.

“It requests your zip code and then from there it tells you all the donations and all the relief resources out there in your proximity," Pretto said. "It’s very location-driven. We want to make it easy for folks to find help.”

Pretto is part of Code for America. He said the group somewhat regularly develop apps for nonprofits and other organizations that are looking to help people. He felt this pandemic lent itself to building a free app. According to Pretto, he developed it in less than 20 hours.


This is a group I've created where young and healthy people in the Austin community can be found and requested to run errands for those in our community who are more vulnerable. If you are elderly,...

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The app relies on users to post what they are offering for help or what they need.

“If you just want to make folks aware that you need masks, or that your organization is involved in getting bill assistance, then I think our app is well-equipped to do that," Pretto said. "The Facebook group is an excellent resource for very niche needs.”

Pretto joined the "COVID-19 COMMUNITY ASSIST-AUSTIN,TX" Facebook group back in March. After seeing so many posts of what people needed and what people had to offer, he decided to put it all in a visual graphic. Users can filter submissions to find what type of help they're looking for.

“A lot of folks are out there helping out and trying to get out there and give back to their neighbors and their community members," Pretto said. "There’s a lot of people in need right now.”

Pretto worked for Dell Technologies from 2017-2019 before moving to Kansas City. He said he has two brothers living in the Austin area and still feels connected to the metro area. The app has also launched donations and connections in the Houston and Kansas City areas.


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