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On Thursday, November 30, over 275 friends and supporters joined Root, a nonprofit whose mission is to teach 16 to 24 year olds how to prepare food, plan menus, handle deliveries, and provide customer service, ultimately putting them on a culinary career path, at its new home (since fall), HarborPoint at Root, located at Shetland Park in Salem, for a festive evening to celebrate all the successes of Root’s first year! Guests were able to tour the kitchen, classroom, and the Café at Root, sampling some of the student’s culinary creations, as well as meet recent graduates, current students, and the Root team. It was inspiring to hear Edward and Armani, two program participants, share their experiences and to learn how Root is providing them with critical life and work skills.

Guests snacked on hors d’oeuvres and small plates from Vinwood Catering, and sipped on ciders from Far From The Tree, beers from Notch Brewing, and wine and bubbles from CityWinery Boston, all sponsors of the event. Additional sponsors included Windover Construction, Q Cassetti, Salem 5, Shetland Park, Brookwood School, Glovsky and Glovsky, Singing Flower, Zwikker and Zacher.

The wonderful evening concluded with remarks from Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker, who then presented Mayor of Salem Kim Driscoll with the Jennifer Eddy Community Leadership Award, named after Root founder and chairman of the board.

Root was recently awarded a Massachusetts Workforce Skills Capital Grant. “Our skills capital grant program is a tremendous opportunity to boost the Massachusetts economy and develop students with marketable skills, knowledge and experience using state of the art equipment,” says Governor Baker. “We were glad to partner with Root on a recent grant for important new equipment that will help provide participants with the requisite skills to meet the needs of the restaurant industry in Salem and across the North Shore.”

Here’s a recap of the inspiring evening in photographs.

Photos by Alyse Gause