“We’re grateful to have Off the Grid to help mobilize and think ahead,” says May German, co-owner of alaMar Kitchen & Bar, whose Oakland restaurant was the first to join a program created by Off the Grid (OTG) to help feed first responders.
Off the Grid now urges food providers in the East Bay and beyond to join in this statewide effort during the upcoming fire season. Restaurants, caterers, food trucks, and cottage food purveyors can play a key role, bringing essential nourishment and comfort to first responders and others impacted by wildfires, Covid, and other disasters.
Best known for its diverse gatherings of food trucks, Off the Grid started feeding first responders back in 2017. In 2020, OTG turned its attention to those who became food insecure because of Covid. The Food Responders program is funded by local cities including Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, as well as by federal FEMA dollars. It’s a public/private partnership that has helped local businesses stay afloat while bringing high-quality meals to people in dire need.
Given the current drought conditions, experts are predicting an unusually bad fire season this year. Ashleigh Bilodeaux, OTG’s Director of Sales & Marketing, says that it’s been essential to figure out how to create meals at scale in different scenarios. “We all need to know what we’re doing ahead of time and not react in crisis mode,” she says. “The more you can get ahead of things and prepare, the better it will be when folks need help most.”
This spring and summer, Off the Grid hopes to add more than 200 food responders throughout California, bringing its fleet of small food businesses to over 400. Food providers in the East Bay and throughout the state can sign up at offthegrid.com. Participating businesses will be fully trained and ready to make a huge difference in people’s lives during times of disaster.