(WKBN) – Several food pantries in the Valley are among the 149 receiving capacity-building grants across Ohio this year.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks received $500,000 for each year of 2020-2021 biennium, which will help fund food banks across 56 counties.

The grants will allow these pantries to buy new equipment so they can accept, store and distribute fresh foods.

“Across the state, our member charities are in dire need of reliable equipment to store and distribute millions of pounds of fresh produce, protein and dairy items to our state’s most vulnerable residents,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We are grateful to Governor DeWine and members of the Ohio General Assembly for recognizing this need to equip our network with resources and tools to better serve our clients with the items most often requested – fresh, nutritious foods.”

The money is expected to go toward 116 refrigerators, 93 freezers and dozens of other tools and resources.

“As we celebrate National Nutrition Month in March, there is no better time to focus on efforts to provide Ohioans facing food insecurity with wholesome, healthy foods,” Hamler-Fugitt said. “We know all too well that hunger and health are directly related.”

In Columbiana County, the following food pantries will be getting grant money:

  • Summerside United Methodist Church Food Pantry
  • Oasis Food Ministry
  • Southern Community Center of Salineville
  • The Way Station – Columbiana
  • The Way Station – East Liverpool

In Mahoning County, the following food pantries will be getting grant money:

  • Beulah Baptist Church
  • God’s Warehouse, Inc.
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
  • South Range Council of Church and Community

In Trumbull County, the following food pantries will be getting grant money:

  • Humility of Mary Housing – Emmanuel Community Care Center
  • St. Mary & Joseph Church Food Pantry
  • The Salvation Army – Warren
  • Warren Family Mission

The association said more than three in every 10 Ohioans live in households that qualify for help from foodbanks.