Ed Price

Director, Life Skills Operations

Ed Price is a Chef, Social Entrepreneur, and former Business Owner. When he was 11 years old he was served cold, burnt food as a Scout. He quickly found being a servant allowed him to eat well but also fulfilled his heart desire, `` to help other people at all times”. In his early career as an insurance broker, he sat with over 1,500 businesses and provided service to them.

Ed has a Business degree from Nyack College and a Culinary Arts Degree from Johnson & Wales. In 2007, God whispered to Ed’s heart, “feed My children”. Ed has since expanded his definition of His children to mean all who don’t have an intimate relationship with Jesus.

In 2014, Ed and his wife Nancy entered Christian ministry and served at Project 658. Together they served East Charlotte by feeding outreach and providing job training. To support their effort, they were able to create a catering program for profit.

Joining the staff of Charlotte Rescue Mission in 2017, Ed is responsible for running Community Matters Café, a public, full-service restaurant and coffee shop and extension program for Charlotte Rescue Mission graduate students.

Ed lives in Charlotte with Nancy. They have four children, Alexa (also a JWU grad), Jake, Madison, and Sophie as well as two tiny dogs.

Nick Kepp

Executive Chef

Nick is a food service professional that has worked in the industry since his introduction into the restaurant world as a dishwasher in 2005.

Nick attended Appalachian State University and then started cooking in various restaurants in Boone, NC. In 2012, he earned his Associates Degree in Culinary Arts, graduating from The Art Institute of Charlotte.

More recently, Nick has used his skills in serving as Chef at First Presbyterian Church and Sous Chef at Southminster Retirement Community. He is excited for the opportunity to extend his warm hospitality to both the guests and staff at Community Matters Café.

Nick and his wife Casee Jo live in Gastonia, NC with their kitty, Jimmy.

Paula Elkins

Cafe Manager

Jenny Villapando

Front of House Manager

Meet Jenny Villapando, our new Front of House Manager at Community Matters Cafe. She spends her days mentoring and training our students while serving the guests of the cafe. She takes pride in her leadership style, eye for detail and being able to meet the needs of the guests.

Jenny has a background in the hospitality industry as a Restaurant Manager and has been blessed to work with and learn from some of the most prolific operators and chefs in the Charlotte area.

Most recently, she was part of the award-winning team at The Asbury inside of The Dunhill Hotel, winning accolades for everything from Best Chef, Best Pastry Chef, Best Historic Hotel, and Restaurant of the Year. She’s a proud wife and mother to an energetic toddler and a native Charlottean.

Ashley Anna Tuttle

Executive Pastry Chef

Ashley Anna Tuttle is the Executive Pastry Chef at Community Matters Cafe. On a day-to-day basis she is running a full in-house bread program as well as producing pastries for the cafe. Although a Florida native, after joining the military Ashley Anna moved around the country. Her travels brought her to Charlotte where she attended Johnson & Wales for her BA in Business and AS in Baking and Pastry. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Business Administration.

Rita Clyburn

Clinical Director of Student Services

Rita is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and Certified Program Director within the State of North Carolina and a graduate of Gardner-Webb University in 2013.

Rita is responsible for the day-to-day operations of all clinical areas with students that are transformed by the Life Skills Training Program provided in a café setting.

She brings over 10 years of experience counseling and educating those who suffer from hardships and working with substance use and mental health disorder recipients. She is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, graduating with honors and was awarded “Most Outstanding Student” in college.

She grew up in Cabarrus County where she raised two children and now has six grandchildren. She loves spending time with family, traveling, and believes in living each day as if it may be her last.