Sahan Pitigala

Tribal Chief at



Smart SOS

A few weeks ago, the North East went through one of the biggest natural disasters in recent memory (Hurricane Sandy, if you don't know by now). What amazed me the most was the outpouring of support following the disater. People were donating food, clothing, toys and other items to their local shelters and churches in addition to providing manpower to help with clean up efforts.

I ended up volunteering at my local shelter the day after the hurricane hit. Myself and other volunteers spent hours accepting donations from generous locals. However, one of the biggest problems I noticed was a disparity between what was being donated and what was actually needed. We were getting plenty of canned food, water and winter jackets but not enough other essentials such clean socks, underwear, toothbrushes, and cleaning supplies (for those people who had to return to their homes to clean up the mess). There were even pets being cared for at the shelter, but not many people realized this and there was a shortage of pet food. 

What Smart SOS will do is provide a central platform for communities to come together and stay informed during times of distress. For example, it will allow a local shelter to post information about what items are needed in real time. People in the community can type in their city/zip code and see what places are accepting donations, and donate specific items to places that need them.

The site will also allow volunteer group organizers to set up events such as cleanups and keep all participnts updated about meetup times, locations, and inform them of changes, if any. 

The finer details of the site/service have yet to be sorted out but "central hub for local disater relief" would be the simplest way to describe it.




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