Second Helpings, Beaufort County, South Carolina

Volunteers at Second Helpings pick up food donations from grocery stores across the region, and then redistribute the donations to food banks, churches, and soup kitchens to feed the hungry. The organization rescues nearly 3 million pounds of food per year in this way.

Food pick-up and drop-off weights were once recorded on the trucks by paper and pencil, and then they were hand-entered into spreadsheets and tabulated at the Second Helpings office.

In 2012, two service-learning projects completed by computer science students at Bowdoin College changed this. For the first project, a 3-student team built a user-friendly database system to schedule the trucks and track food donations from local stores and deliveries at service centers. The second project created a mobile app that is now used by volunteers on the trucks to instantly record the weights of food donated and delivered.

Homeplate is the result of these two projects, and it has replaced the clipboards and pens since it was completed and installed in 2012.  As a byproduct, Homeplate provides more accurate and timely reports for donating stores and other supporting agencies.


The Development Triad

  • The Client: Second Helpings, Inc., Hilton Head, SC required on-line food pickup and delivery record keeping and scheduling to replace its manual paper-based system.
  • The Student Team: Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine developed the Homeplate application with 3 computer science students and an instructor during the spring and summer 2012 semesters.
  • The Software Professional: From 2012 to 2017, Progressive Technology, Inc. in Bluffton, SC provided technical support for  Homeplate.  Since 2017, NPFI has been providing technical support.  Hosting is provided by Godaddy.

Instructor/Developer Links: