LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Sixty-two restaurants in the Los Angeles area were awarded $3,000 grants to pay for new equipment and cover employees’ costs and related expenses under a support program operated by SoCal Gas and other entities, it was announced Thursday.

Individual awards are $3,000 apiece and will be distributed to a total of 162 establishments in Central and Southern California as part of an annual disbursal from the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund, which is managed by the California Restaurant Foundation and financially supported by SoCal Gas, Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric and Wells Fargo.

“Independent restaurants are critical to the fabric of our communities because they contribute to culture, they foster job growth and contribute to the economic vitality of the neighborhoods they serve,” SoCal Gas Vice President David Barrett said

According to officials, the goal of this year’s awards distribution was promoting the long-term financial health of restaurants. The leisure and hospitality industry was one of the most impacted by the coronavirus public health lockdowns, resulting in permanent closures throughout the region and state. Grant funds can be used for equipment outlays, retention bonuses and interior or exterior upgrades.

“We are so thankful to SoCalGas for this grant. We have needed a new refrigerator in our kitchen for some time now, and with this funding, I want to upgrade it to a more energy-efficient model to better serve my customers and the planet,” said Claire Risoli, owner of Pocha LA in Highland Park. “Additionally, I would love to award my steadfast employees with a bonus on their paycheck for their loyalty and service through these trying times. They are the heart of Pocha and I know my food is not my greatest asset, my people are.”

The complete list of recipients can be found here.