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May 12, 2021
Salem Pantry and Root Team Up to Address Food Insecurity
Salem Pantry

March 23, 2021 — The Salem Pantry, a nonprofit that works to eradicate hunger in the area, which last fall teamed with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem to raise awareness about food insecurity, has now joined with Root, a nonprofit also based in Salem that helps young adults become independent through food service training, to support city residents experiencing food insecurity.

With support from individual donors as well as CARES Act funding awarded through the City of Salem, Root provides The Salem Pantry with individual meals to help augment their ongoing food distribution and hunger relief efforts.

Over the course of 2021, Root said the new partnership will provide 1,800 nutritious meals to individuals, and focuses on what each agency does best.

Alongside Root’s Chef Sam Hunt, a team of Root alumni employees have been preparing meals for The Salem Pantry’s mobile markets twice each month.

“The Salem Pantry is working collaboratively to increase and improve food access to vulnerable community members and build in resiliency to be ready for future challenges,” said Robyn Burns, executive director at The Salem Pantry. “Root is a key partner in this work and their prepared meals provide a wonderful addition to our mobile distribution program.”

Scott Knox, executive director at Root, said, “We are so grateful to work together with The Salem Pantry to serve our home community of Salem in this unique way. In addition to a healthy meal, each dollar of support for Root’s Community Catering goes deeper, providing meaningful employment, training and leadership development for young adults, and income to our local farm partners and producers who we source from.”

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll lauded the initiative, noting, Since last March, we have prioritized food security assistance for those in need. We know how critical it is to provide these kinds of supports to our most vulnerable residents.

“When organizations come together, each bringing their best in service to others, our whole community wins. In this partnership, The Salem Pantry brings long-standing hunger relief work and existing infrastructure to food distribution in our community, and Root’s youth graduates are further developing their culinary skills through healthy scratch-cooking for those in need, and at above-minimum wage employment.”

Since its founding in 1991, The Salem Pantry has been serving local residents. In addition to its mobile food distribution program, the nonprofit manages a food storage and distribution warehouse to support other organizations in Salem and the Greater North Shore to store and access food.

Founded in 2016, Root uses the culinary arts as a tool for teaching workforce readiness and life skills to low-income youth in Essex County with barriers to employment. The organization provides culinary training, workforce preparedness, on-the-job experiences, and life skills workshops, as well as advising and employment support. It also provides employment through the Root Café, Catering by Root, the HarborPoint event space, and its Community Catering initiative.

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