Arcadia University has teamed up with Caring for Friends’ Meals for Homebound Client Friends to provide nutritious evening meals for homebound seniors, veterans, people with disabilities. Caring for Friends is a foodbank in the upper Northeast in operation for nearly 50-years (www.caringforfriends.org). They provide many food-related services.
Arcadia MBA alumnus Jeff Frazier began delivering meals with CFF as part of his volunteer work with the Glenside-Abington Rotary. He is tasked to develop the Cheltenham, Abington, Willow Grove areas and will test the efficacy of portions of the in-process programs. This spring he engaged the Computer Science Department at Arcadia, overseeing the initial phase of a likely 2-year series of Capstone Projects with Arcadia and Caring for Friends.
This series of Capstone projects is also the first effort of the newly formed Arcadia University Alumni Business Network (ABN: Arcadia Business Network), integrating undergraduate business and computer science students with MBA graduates. This is a Beta test to see how Arcadia students can use their academic skills to further the goals of Caring for Friends and other worthy causes in the area.
This initial phase of Capstone projects was to design the framework for a web-based mapping program with two Arcadia Computer Science Seniors, Steve Alverez and Kevin Abraham, under the supervision of their Associate Professor, Dr. Yaxian Jia. The Capstone presentation was on Thursday evening.
“The goal of the multi-pronged project is to develop a more efficient food distribution mechanism for the Meals for Homebound Client Friends,” Frazier said. A core part of Caring for Friends, this last mile of the process focuses on delivering fifteen, generally home-cooked, frozen meals bi-monthly to the homebound. The volunteer drivers then spend some time with the recipients.
“In the long term,” Frazier continued, “this meals program could be scalable and used as a model nationwide, and possibly through Rotary International.” The Glenside-Abington Rotary Club has been delivering meals for Caring for Friends for many years, with some members volunteering with the foodbank since it started.
Steve Alverez, who focused more on coding for the mapping part, said, “it was a pleasure to work alongside Kevin, Professor Jia, and Jeff Frazier. I’m excited to see where this project will be in the coming year and I’m hopeful that it becomes an important tool for the Rotary Club and Caring for Friends.” Kevin Abraham focused on the aesthetics and integrating functionalities. Kevin said he was grateful to work on this project because “it is for a great cause, and I hope that this app can keep growing and help lots of people who are hungry.”
Dr. Jia helped bridge the gap between Frazier’s ideas and what the two students could reasonably accomplish during their last semester. “The learning components in this project are fascinating,” Dr. Jia said, “visiting the facility, meeting with our clients, transforming Jeff’s ideas into technical implementations, communicating effectively, and balancing priorities.” Dr. Jia was grateful for the opportunity for “this service-learning opportunity that Caring for Friends provided for our students.”
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