NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — How many times a week do you order takeout? Soon you will be able to help the hungry when you place an order, thanks to an app designed by Westchester high school students.

As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, six students in the technology program at Harrison High School, where wood shop and technical drawing meet 3D printing, are now co-owners of an award-winning app.

“This is all really surreal for me. It’s just amazing,” Pay It Forward app designer, Benjamin Struhl said.

Teacher Diane Frawley asked her design technology students to participate in Verizon’s Innovative App Challenge.

The students won a $20,000 prize with an app called ‘Pay It Forward’ which was inspired by a recent trip to the city.

“We made care packages and while we were traveling to the Design Museum we handed them out to homeless people we encountered along the way,” app designer, Christine Cardascia said.

Those packages included food.

Feeding the homeless that day, energized the college bound seniors to create their entire app around it.

“It’s basically a combination of an online food ordering app like Grub Hub. After ordering their food, they would be given the option to donate the meal of their choice to a person in need,” Struhl said.

They can also choose to donate a set amount of money.

“It’ll allow them to help others instead of just consuming the food that we order,” app designer, Joshua Munoz said.

“We thought about a lot of different things, but this one made the most sense because it had the biggest impact on more than just ourselves,” app designer, Paul Bilotta added.

“That’s what set us apart, because we were the only ones that focused on the actual community part,” team member, Thomas Alvarado said.

The $20,000 prize money doesn’t go to the students, it goes to the school. It will be reinvested into their technology education program for new equipment and an updated work space.

As contest winners the students will meet with professors at MIT to make their app design as reality.

The Pay It Forward app will be free and is scheduled to be unveiled this summer.


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