SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – Local nonprofits can apply for $1,000 “mini-grants” that will help them rent permitted commercial kitchens to prepare charitable meals, county officials said Tuesday.

The Santa Clara County Consumer and Environmental Protection Agency is accepting applications through March 18 for the $1,000 grants.

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Changes in state law in recent years have prevented nonprofits from providing meals to those who need them, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian said.

“I’ve heard from too many churches, temples and local nonprofits who want to help that simply can’t,” Simitian said.

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Currently many organizations that prepare meals for the hungry don’t have access to permitted commercial kitchens, which enhance food safety, Simitian said in a news release. That can result in groups operating out of compliance with state law, or spending valuable resources to redesign an existing kitchen or to rent a permitted facility, he added.

Organizations with 501(c)(3) classification may submit up to three applications for up to $1,000 each for meals to feed hungry people.

The mini-grants “should cover the costs for local nonprofits to rent a compliant kitchen and then do the good work they’re anxious to do,” Simitian said.

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More information on the pilot program can be found at sccgov.org.