By Perry, the voice behind New York Street Food
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With food trucks coming under fire from city municipalities, one silver lining of Hurricane Sandy may be demonstrating just how vital food trucks can be during a time of crisis.
Food trucks are essentially mobile kitchens on wheels, so they can go right to affected areas and start serving the locals hot food and water faster than almost anyone else.
Most food trucks are small businesses working on thin margins, but a partnership between food trucks and big business or government can be highly effective in distributing essentials to those in need. The most high-profile example of this was Jet Blue, New York's hometown airline, working with the NYC Food Truck Association to bring thousands of meals to those without power.
On Friday, 12 New York City food trucks at seven different locations distributed 11,000 meals to those without food, water and electricity.
Another example of food trucks helping the locals was in Hoboken. Last year Hoboken had a thriving food truck scene, but at the behest of local restaurateurs, an ordinance was pushed through last spring basically keeping food trucks out of Hoboken.
On Thursday, Hoboken's official Facebook page posted the message "Have a food truck? Come to Hoboken and help us feed our community."
Not one for sour grapes, Molly's Milk Truck hit Hoboken on Friday tweeting: Todays Menu: FREE Mac'n'Cheese, FREE Hot Coffee, FREE Chicken & Veggie Fried Rice, FREE Mini Bagels w/PB&J & FREE Water. Whole Foods in Edgewater has also generously donated some items we will be giving out. Sophia Peppas also donated bottled water.
Local vendor The Taco Truck was serving in Hoboken as well.
Back in NYC, several food trucks including Gorilla Cheese and Big D's Grub Truck set up charging stations for cell phones. Big D's also donated their tip jar to relief efforts.
Nearly every food truck who could get gas has been parking and serving among the powerless, whether it's Union Square, Astor Place, Tompkins Square Park or elsewhere. Last Wednesday, Nuchas Empanadas fed 400 people at a shelter at Baruch College.
Jet Blue and the NYC Food Truck Association teamed up again to bring 10,000 free, hot meals to some of the harder hit places in the tri-state area. Gorilla Cheese, Valducci's, Toum and Coolhaus were on Staten Island giving out food to local residents.
The Mac Truck was also on Staten Island, although not as part of the Jet Blue fleet. This means they went out-of-pocket giving away their food.
In Hoboken, Big D's Grub Truck, Sweetery NYC and Nuchas gave out thousands of free meals.
Over in the Rockaways, Phil's Steaks, Milk Truck, Eddie's Pizza and Cupcake Crew were giving away free hot food, water and coffee, courtesy of Jet Blue. Chinese Mirch was in another Rockaways location donating hot meals to the local residents.
On Sunday, four trucks to two different locations in the Rockaways, distributing another 4,000 free lunches to the heavily impacted area. This included Eddie's Pizza & Cupcake Crew at one Rockaways location and Gorilla Cheese and Valducci's at another site there.
Sweetery NYC gave out free hot soup, coffee, & treats in the Rockaways.
Mausam NYC also went to Staten Island to help people in need with some curries.
If you want to help, there are a couple of ways we can tell you about:
The NYC Food Truck Association is accepting donations here. So far, over $13,000 has been raised. This enabled Rickshaw Dumpling Truck to go to the American Legion HQ in the Rockaways and give away free dumplings. It also sent Coolhaus to Red Hook to give away free hot coffee to the residents there. Please keep the donations coming.
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