If every customer of Qdoba used the same shared loyalty rewards card to earn free meals, a lot of food could be donated to hungry families.
That’s the Project Burrito idea that Chris Overcash brought to Random Hacks of Kindness this weekend. Today, you could start using the above loyalty rewards account to help earn free food for needy families, beginning here in Philadelphia.
The technical hack is something Overcash figured out to show his 10-year-old cousin the value of civic-minded technology work. To fight misuse — like anyone taking free food — he actually uses two loyalty rewards accounts. One account, associated with the number and the barcode depicted above, is shared so customers who order meals can accrue accrue free food. Overcash then transfers the earned free meals to a second, private accounts, which he uses to redeem and donate.
For now, the free food is in his hands, but Overcash worked with a team at Random Hacks to develop a pipeline to social services organizations, like the Convenant House, with which one of the team members had.
The idea is something like ‘Jonathan’s’ shared Starbucks card that was shut down August 2011, but Overcash says he has some support from Qdoba headquarters and not to be confused with the Burrito Project, which is, for now, unaffiliated.
Overcash and his team –Stephen Douglass, Morgan Bagshaw, Sherry Bagshaw, Mike Lamond and Johan Widjaja — say the logic could be taken to other retailers with loyalty rewards cards. Think CVS, which could result in deeply discounted or even free toiletries, always a need for social services agencies.
Why start with Qdoba? Overcash says the company’s terms of service are lenient and their corporate offices actually expressed some interest in his hack. But there’s no telling how far it could go.
The real challenge will be how widely will the idea spread and, if it’s only minimal, can Overcash continue to put the time into donating food at an institutional and sustained level. For now, it might be worth giving it all a try.