PEABODY — Citizens Inn Haven from Hunger unveiled its newly renovated commercial kitchen to a large group of supporters last week. The renovation, which took place during the spring, is part of a multi-phase capital project at the 71 Wallis Street location.
The event was catered by chef Sean Lee, son of Citizens Inn founder Mary Jane Lee, and allowed guests to receive an up-close look at the inner workings of Haven from Hunger.
Haven from Hunger serves over 15,000 dinners annually out of the kitchen and distributes an additional 1.2 million pounds of food through the pantry. The new kitchen will serve as the space for a new culinary arts training program, which is set to launch in 2019.
“Our vision for this project was to be able to dignify this space to allow for new and increased high-impact programming,” said Corey Jackson, executive director of Citizens Inn. “It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since Citizens Inn merged with Haven from Hunger. We’re so appreciative of the support from the community, which made this first project possible.”
Red Barn Architecture and MRG Construction Management took the reins on the design and build out of the kitchen. The project was made possible by the in-kind support from Red Barn Architecture and MRG Construction, as well as support from the City of Peabody, Rotary Club of Peabody, Rotary International and the Janey Fund.
The tour brought people through the new kitchen and up to the second floor, which will be renovated to include a shared commercial kitchen space to incubate small business ideas, expand training and serve as a rental space when not in use by the community meals program. The second floor will also serve as the space for a permanent dining hall for up to 80 guests and office space for the staff and additional agencies brought in to help residents of Peabody, Salem and Lynnfield with needs beyond food insecurity.