A company called Off The Grid that brings food trucks and vendors together has served more than 3,500 meals so far to those affected by the harrowing wildfires that ravaged Northern California last week.
Firefighters are gaining ground on the deadly blazes, which have killed at least 40 people and ruined 5,700 buildings, many of them in Sonoma County wine country and the city of Santa Rosa. Last week, Santa Rosa city officials tweeted a request for food trucks willing to help with relief efforts, Eater reports. Local company Off The Grid responded in a big way.
Off The Grid organizes food events around Northern California, so they have a lot of vendors in their Rolodex. Since last week, they’ve been acting as a dispatcher for food trucks and vendors who want to serve those displaced or affected by the fires.
“Because of their mobility, food trucks are particularly well-suited to help in disaster relief situations by providing hot, healthy meals to people who are otherwise without reliable access to food, power and water,” Off The Grid CEO Matt Cohen told HuffPost. “Our vendors have been able to mobilize to these areas right away.”
The company is “giving priority to Napa/Sonoma-based businesses that have been affected, to provide an opportunity to serve in their community and recoup lost dollars,” a spokeswoman added in a statement.
That means Sonoma County-based food trucks like Fruity Moto, Caribbean Spices and Mai Thai Kitchen are making money at a time when business would normally be slow by dishing out food to locals in need, like senior citizens at nearby residential complexes. Off The Grid foots the bill, paying trucks $7.50 per meal out of a GoFundMe campaign that’s raised $32,000 and counting.
Emergency workers have been contacting Off The Grid to request food deliveries all over the county, the spokeswoman said. On Saturday, two of the company’s food truck partners, a burger truck and a taco truck, fed 200 meals to first responders coming off 36-hour shifts. On Tuesday, more vendors fed 200 displaced farm workers at a community hall in Sonoma Springs. Starting this weekend, even more vendors will join together and deliver over 3,500 meals to shelters in the area.
Much of the feeding is made possible by Off The Grid’s GoFundMe page, which raised $30,000 in five days after it went live last Tuesday. If participating food vendors aren’t based directly in Sonoma, the company offers them a $125 stipend per 50 meals served, the spokeswoman said. However, many have declined to accept payment altogether, she added.
Off The Grid has upped its initial fundraising goal to $50,000 so it can fund long-term relief efforts. Other businesses are following suit: Google recently announced it will team up with Off The Grid to deliver more than 25,000 meals to Napa and Sonoma County shelters over the next month.
You can donate on Off The Grid’s GoFundMe page.