Portsmouth man invents app to give £3 meal codes for homeless and needy
A DATA scientist who has overcome a desperate situation has landed back on his feet – and developed an app to help the needy.
Samson Ibitoye did not know where to turn when he found himself in the desperate situation of not having enough money to feed himself.
His struggles started after graduating from the University of Portsmouth with a masters degree.
But after getting back on his feet he decided he wanted to help others.
Using his data background, the 39-year-old teamed up with business partner Kunle Gbagba and created an app and website, called Provide A Meal.
It allows people to donate money and create a meal code with that amount attached to it.
The meal codes can be given out to anyone who needs it and can be redeemed at certain city restaurants.
Dad-of-two Samson said: ‘It was a horrible situation to be in and not knowing where to get help was difficult.
‘When I got everything sorted I wanted to help others and this idea just came to me because when you are homeless or desperate you are only thinking about your next meal.
‘If you know you can get a meal that fills you up then you can start to make plans to better your life and get help for whatever you need.’
The codes can currently be used at Rock Salt Fish & Chips in London Road in North End, Lily and Lime in Portsmouth Central Library and Little Kitchen in Albert Road, Southsea.
Business students from the University of Portsmouth helped develop a social media strategy for the app.
Samson, from Nigeria, now hopes more businesses will get involved and the app could roll out nationally.
He added: ‘The minimum amount that can be added is £3 because we did some research and that is what is needed to give someone a meal but people can put as much as they want on.
‘It means you can help someone without worrying what else that money might go on and it will genuinely make a difference to someone’s life.’
Hive Portsmouth, The Parenting Network, The You Trust, Pushing Change, British Red Cross and Portsmouth City of Sanctuary have also backed the initiative.
Malcolm Little from the Red Cross said: ‘The British Red Cross is proud to be a chosen charity partner and recipient of PAM’s donated meals.
‘We support vulnerable migrants, and this excellent local means to tackle food poverty is dignified for beneficiaries, and something we should all get behind and promote. We’d encourage more people to donate, and more restaurants to participate with healthy meals.’
Rotary Club and London Ambulance Service are also supporting the social enterprise.
To find out more about donating or becoming a a partner visit provideameal.com