SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Known mostly for organizing night markets and food truck corrals around the Bay Area, Off the Grid didn’t anticipate being called into action as an emergency services network. But when city officials in Santa Rosa put out a request for “licensed and available mobile food vendors” to help aid its fire relief efforts earlier this week, they might as well have put up a Bat Signal with Off the Grid’s logo on it.

The company provides infrastructure for dozens of weekly food events, creating regular spaces for its network of mobile vendors, food trucks, catering companies and partner restaurants to cook for hungry customers. Off the Grid’s ubiquitous presence throughout the regional street food scene gives it a deep roster of cooks and resources to call in the wake of a disaster. So, the company hit the ground running with two simultaneous support efforts this week: one that sends trucks to shelters or areas where there’s an immediate need, and another coordinating food donations from restaurants in San Francisco.

“What we are, fundamentally, is a platform,” Off the Grid founder and CEO Matt Cohen told Eaterby phone on Friday. “We connect chefs who cook with communities that want them.” In Santa Rosa on Thursday, that community was about 800 people in residential complexes without power or gas.

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