Food…A Real Community Builder

“Food is a human right.”

“Food builds family and community relationships.”

“Food reflects each person’s heritage.”

Yes. Yes. Yes!  As we sat around the dinner table with three Community Foundation leaders, we got a taste of how food inspires their philanthropy. This was discussed over a simple salad, broiled salmon, and roasted carrots, broccoli and cauliflower:

Rob Necarsulmer

Community Foundation Board Treasurer


Rob is passionately precise. He counts off on his fingers:

  1. “No one should go hungry.
  2. “Everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy, tasty food.
  3. “Poverty is an incredibly difficult cycle to break.
  4. “When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, it’s impossible to secure stable housing and a good job.
  5. “Food is an essential part of people’s well-being.”

Rob should know. A retired financial controller, he served as Financial Supervisor of Maxwell House; Controller of two Kraft General Foods plants; then Senior VP Finance at Townsends Inc. Rob has a long history in the business of food production, distribution, pricing, access, and agriculture. 

A tireless advocate for food access, Rob spends a great deal of his time and energy serving as a hands-on volunteer at the West Chester Food Cupboard, as well as President of the Board. Explains Rob, “Volunteering like this allows me to see when my efforts have a very direct impact on people in my community.  And it keeps me in-the-know about the pressing issues impacting Chester County.”  It also helps Rob in complementary volunteer service with the Boy Scouts Chester County Council and the various housing initiatives of Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Timmy Nelson

Community Foundation Outreach Advisor


Timmy Nelson knows that food is key to relationship building: “A community coming together to share food–whether that means sharing a meal or distributing food to folks in need–food forges relationships and creates a sense of connection.”

Timmy volunteers and serves on the Board of the West Chester Food Cupboard: “Often, folks avoid food pantries because of preconceived stigmas. Especially during COVID and inflationary times, a lot of our neighbors found they need help to fill their dinner tables for the very first time in their lives. My goal is to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable when they enter the Food Cupboard to shop.”

Timmy is a consummate people-person professional. During a 38-year career at UPS, he began as a package handler, was quickly promoted to manage operations, and found a challenging yet rewarding fit as UPS Human Resources Manager. Timmy capped his UPS career serving as Senior Vice President of State Government Affairs.

Timmy is dedicated to helping his community: Chester County’s Chamber of Business & Industry, Economic Development Council, United Way; as well as West Chester’s NAACP and Senior Center have all benefitted from his energy and insights. 

At Chester County Hospital, Timmy serves on Board of Directors of Chester County Hospital & Health System, Turk’s Head Board, Patient & Family Advisory Council, Diversity Council, and Chaplain/Clergy Support Team. Plus he helps individuals with End Stage Renal Disease.

Timmy knows people. And he knows relationships. “I believe that with each person you meet, there is a takeaway. It is up to you to determine what people take away from their encounter with you.”

Stephanie Pahides Kalogredis, Esq.
Lamb McErlane

Community Foundation Governance & Nominating Committee Chair


“Food is love. And when you love, you learn about people, their traditions and heritage. Sharing and enjoying culturally different food increases empathy and understanding. It is a window into the soul of a culture. Food is a delicious, beautiful way to open up the hearts and minds of people who may not have widened their horizons. Food connects individuals, families, neighbors, colleagues, enemies, strangers.

“People from vastly different heritage traditions have come together in communities throughout the world. Yet people retain a hunger for the comfort food of their homelands. It’s crucial to ensure that culturally-inclusive food is available to all community members, in their grocery stores, on the shelves of their food banks, and on their dinner tables.”

Philanthropy can help ensure diversity of food and food access, by highlighting and rewarding the value of diversity, and healthy, accessible, culturally-inclusive food.

Via their legacy fund at the Community Foundation, Stephanie and her husband Bill Kalogredis share their Greek heritage by awarding grants primarily to support food access, education and Greek culture. Stephanie explains, “Food is an integral part of our lives. A dream of ours is ensuring that every person has access to good and healthy food. And if it is Greek food, so much the better!”

How Sweet It Is! 
Sweet Charity
at the Food Bank Warehouse, Exton
Tues. 03.28.23 from 4-7

Food is essential to the well-being of the entire community, building health, relationships, understanding, trust, and a sense of identity.

This year, the Community Foundation’s ever-popular Sweet Charity event will be held in a new location: the warehouse of the Chester County Food Bank in Exton.  This will be a delicious, informative, casual event. Join us to sample Chester County’s finest desserts and learn how to help your neighbors in need of healthy, nutritious food.

Chester County Community Foundation

28 W. Market St., The Lincoln Building

West Chester PA 19382  610.696.8211

Karen Simmons, President/CEO

Jason Arbacheski CAP®, Gift Planning & Stewardship Director

Winifred Sebastian Moran Esq., Chair of the Board

WC Food Cupboard photos by Inspire Lens Media LLC