After the third-driest year ever recorded in the state, California is bracing itself for yet another devastating wildfire season. 

The state’s governor Gavin Newsom approved half a billion dollars in emerging funding to get ready for the looming disaster, and response teams all over the state are gearing up to be as prepared as possible. 

Recognizing the importance of intentional and coordinated efforts to prepare and help mitigate the community-wide impact of wildfire, we at Off the Grid are stepping up our efforts to expand our network of food vendors to provide relief in a critical piece of the response puzzle—food. 

Since 2017, we’ve provided emergency food relief to devastated communities by connecting individuals in need to local food businesses. Amid 2020’s devastation—during which 4 million acres were burned and thousands displaced—we were able to quickly and effectively deploy over 50,869 meals to impacted individuals, families and first responders.

By growing our network of newly dubbed “Food Responders” to over 400 trained and ready-to-deploy food businesses, we’ll be able to get hot, fresh food to over 40 of the most vulnerable counties throughout California.

We’re working closely with local municipalities, state and federal feeding organizations to craft plans that take the small, critical details into consideration, including dietary restrictions and logistics. We’re remaining flexible and nimble in order to meet the independent needs of specific communities. 

Our response efforts not only provide meals to those who have lost homes or first responders risking their lives, they also provide revenue to local restaurants, food trucks and catering companies whose businesses often take major hits after a disaster. Off the Grid serves a crucial role in our ability to pre-negotiate fixed pricing per meal so local food businesses are guaranteed to get paid fairly for each meal they provide to local residents in need. 

We’re committed to helping local communities and food insecure individuals in the wake of all natural disasters and being prepared is the best way to ensure we’re able to meet those needs. 

Food vendors who wish to become a Food Responders with Off the Grid will need to provide the following when applying:

  • Confirm they can create and deliver food within 24 hours of an emergency. 
  • Have the ability to prepare 30-200 meals.
  • Ability to deliver hot meals, unless otherwise specified.
  • Be able to follow dietary restrictions when provided (i.e. Vegetarian/Vegan, No Pork or Red Meat, Soft Diet, Low Salt/Diabetic, No Nuts, No Shellfish, No Dairy/Eggs, No Gluten, No Soy). 
  • Label meals with the following information: Restaurant name, name of dish, ingredients, allergens, reheat instructions and best by date. Labeling and packaging guidelines will be shared during the onboarding process.

In addition to partnering with local food vendors, we at Off the Grid are partnering with other local businesses who may be able to help support these communities in the event of an emergency. That includes local city officials, farmers and distributors that can assist with the supply chain and logistics.

If you’re a state agency looking to partner on emergency relief efforts, please get in touch here. To join our network of Food Responders and support your local community when they need it most, learn more and apply here.