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On Wednesday, December 5, over 200 guests attended Root’s Third Annual Gala at their event space, HarborPoint, in Salem’s Shetland Park. Proceeds from the evening help support their youth culinary work-force training program. Root’s mission is to transform the lives of at-risk young adults ages 16 to 24 by teaching them quality work and important life skills through food service training so that they become employed and self-sufficient. The evening featured a short program that included Jennifer Eddy, Root’s Founder and Board Chair, M. Scott Knox, Root’s Executive Director, and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll welcoming the crowd and speaking about the accomplishments of the last year.  Root graduated its fifth cohort of students from their culinary arts training program in November 2018; earlier in the year, they were recognized with an Economic Innovation Award from the Mass Inc. Gateway Cities Innovation Institute and they received a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation. Also, their three food service businesses, the Root Café, event space and Catering by Root continue to make great strides. The guests then heard from two Root graduates and a mother of one alumnus, before Mayor Driscoll presented the Root Community Leadership Award, to Deborah Jeffers, Nutrition Director of Salem Public Schools. The award is presented each year to an exceptional individual who exemplifies the true spirit of youth leadership and workforce development. Overall, it was a fantastic evening for the organization and its supporters with delicious food and drinks, overlooking Salem Harbor.

Feeding Opportunity and Community. Root offers a rigorous 12-week, 200 hour, workforce training program that uses food preparation and service as its vehicle for teaching career and life skills. Strong community partnerships are key to Root’s mission to provide youth, ages 16 to 24, with a pathway out of the cycle of poverty.