New challenges bring fresh opportunities to serve salads outside of Target Field.

2020 was the undoing of all expectations. We had a fantastic recipe lineup and plans for another great season inside Target Field sharing salads and joy with Twins fans. Just as spring was beginning to unfold, it felt like the whole world stopped and held its collective breath as the coronavirus pandemic descended.

Even in the darkness of closed doors, isolation, and uncertainty, there were opportunities for creative problem solving — skills Roots for the Home Team youth are practiced in. Our participants excel over adversity and are adept in taking raw resources, unpredictable circumstances, and building something beautiful.

While we weren’t able to sell salads in our usual sense, there was great need for meals and . Plus, our participants were still eager to be a part of something outside of themselves while honing important skills that would carry them forward.

More than 1,200 salads were hand made and delivered to frontline workers at Bethesda Hospital.

James Beard Award winning chef Tim McKee and chef Jametta Raspberry step up to the salad plate.

The opportunity came through a connection with James Beard Award winning chef (that’s the food world’s highest honor) Tim McKee. He was suddenly in possession of a large, empty commercial kitchen space, inside his larger Market House Collaborative building. All operations were stilled by the state’s mandatory closure of restaurants and gathering places. Even though the future of his business was uncertain, McKee welcomed ROOTS into his space to build salads.

Bethesda Hospital became an epicenter for patients with COVID. Their workers were people giving so much of themselves, and they were in need of nourishment.

This was the opportunity our youth saw: people in need, and they’re ability to step forward and serve them.

Those incredible recipes, that ROOTS youth created, along with chef coach (and mentor) Jametta Raspberry, were reunited. Bowls were filled with deeply nutritious ingredients, packaged with care, and delivered to weary healthcare staff. It was a new opportunity for ROOTS youth to find a new pathway through difficulty.

In addition to the incredible satisfaction of doing good for the frontline workers, the youth agreed that this opportunity to do more, to provide salads beyond their usual fanbase, was deeply rewarding. Even as the pandemic shows signs of receding, ROOTS is dedicated to continuing to find opportunities to serve beyond the walls we’re used to.