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Our Staff

Jens Christensen, CEO

Jens joined the Community Kitchen team in 2004 as a case manager in the Family Housing Learning Center.  Since that time, he has worked as a case manager in the job training program, as Director of Marketing and as Assistant Executive Director; Jens was named Executive Director in June of 2014.  A native of West Virginia, Jens moved to Chattanooga as a teenager; after high school, he attended Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, where he receive ...keep reading

Jimmy Turner, COO

Jimmy joined the staff of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen in 2015 as the Chief Operations Officer after serving as the founder and executive director a local outreach organization to the homeless. A native of Chattanooga, Jimmy spent time in the Marine Corps where he earned his combat action ribbon during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has an eclectic background of skills that include Christian ministry, food service, law enforcement, and educa ...keep reading

Vanessa Blevins, CFO

Vanessa has been employed since 1998 at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, today she is the Chief Financial Officer. She oversees the daily operations of the business office, human resources, writes grants and administrates HUD grants. A psychology major, she graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelors of Science degree, debt free while raising two kids and working full time.  Vanessa is also a State Notary, a Fina ...keep reading

Tim Wood, Director of Operations

Tim first came to the Community Kitchen in 1991 as the acting security supervisor.  He has since been promoted to serve as the Director of Operations.  In this charge, Tim is responsible for all of the mechanical, maintenance and functional operations of the north side of the 700 block of 11th Street.  Tim oversees the recycling, food service, thrift store, and physical operations of the Community Kitchen, as well as overseeing entry and exit ...keep reading

David Costellow, Corporate Director of Community Engagement

David is passionate about meeting the social and spiritual needs of individuals.  As Community Engagement Director, he works to build relationships between community groups and individuals to promote our mission as well as raise awareness of service opportunities.  He enjoys telling the story of the Kitchen’s diverse work as well as seeing lives changed as a result of them having an opportunity to succeed. ...keep reading