Food&Share wins Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s Seventh District

Rep. Pramila Jayapal has named Benjamin Roberts and Ian Holloway from Seattle Preparatory as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s Seventh District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Food&Share, the students said, “As long-time volunteers at the Ballard Food Bank, we were aware of some of the food bank’s problems. As we were working there, we realized that users without access to a computer sometimes had trouble accessing the entire website, and we realized that a mobile app might better connect the food bank to its patrons. The idea to create an app for the Ballard Food Bank combined our passion for service with our curiosity for coding, giving us the perfect opportunity to give back.

 During the summer, Ian and I (Benjamin) rode our bikes across town to volunteer in person. While there, we talked with Sarah, Forrest, and many other amazing volunteers. We figured out what the food bank needed most through close collaboration and sharing of ideas and added those features to our app. At night, we stayed up late teaching ourselves SwiftUI/Xcode. The fantastic people we’ve worked with and helped through the app inspire us to persist through the obstacles we encounter. And most importantly, we’ve learned to use technology to help our community, encouraging us to tackle larger projects in the future.”

The 2021 Congressional App Challenge yielded 2,101 fully functioning apps. After eighteen months of disruptions to educational cadences for students everywhere, the Congressional App Challenge came roaring back with 7,174 students registering for this year’s competition. All told, 340 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, theCoderSchool, Facebook, Replit, Accenture, and others.

The 2022 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2022, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.