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Build a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) Eligibility Pre-Screener

On February 20-22nd, mRelief ( will be part of a national event in partnership with Code For America (CFA) to build upon our work as the first Social Services Delivery SMS application for screening eligibility in the US. mRelief is a midwest based web and SMS application led by an all-woman web development team that helps users check their eligibility for public assistance. CFA organizes a network of people dedicated to making government services simple, effective, and easy to use.

We invite users all across the nation to participate in a challenge to build a food stamps eligibility pre-screeners for a target population. We also encourage meaningful collaboration with non-technical experts in the field engaged in food policy and advocacy.

Here is a codebase of an SMS pre-screener. Fork this codebase, update it for your target population and then push your branch back up to GitHub!

Setting up the app

(Note: An easy way to avoid dealing with setting up local dependencies is to use, which gives you a nice pre-baked box you can use. To use Nitrous with this app, create a new Ruby on Rails box on Then all the below steps will be in your Nitrous box.)

Here's how you set up this sample app:

Clone the mRelief sample screening app:

git clone

Go into the app directory:

cd mrelief_snap_screener_example

Install dependencies with bundle (this may take a few minutes):

bundle install

Create, migrate, and seed the database:

rake db:create
rake db:migrate
rake db:seed

Run the app:

rails s


Here is an example of how mRelief has created a pre-screener for food stamps



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