“Our mission has always been to affect positive change and address the issues of hunger and homelessness,” Jon Bon Jovi.
Founded in 2006, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation’s mission is to “combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair.” Much of this work has focused on poverty and homelessness. The foundation’s first major initiative was to rebuild 15 row homes in Philadelphia, close to the arena where the Philadelphia Soul AFL football team plays. More recently, though, the foundation has expanded its efforts nationally.
The foundation operates two Soul Kitchen Community Restaurants, located in Red Bank and Toms River, New Jersey. The goal of the Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea’s volunteer-run Soul Kitchen is to address issues of food security, while encouraging community, where diners pay for their meal either by donation or volunteering. Unlike a standard soup kitchen, diners of all socioeconomic backgrounds sit together at communal tables, as the restaurant serves both paying customers and those in need.
Soul Kitchen preaches manifestos such as, All are Welcome at Our Table and Happy are the Hands that Feed, which encourage community involvement and building relationships with neighbors and strangers alike. Thus far they have served more than 95,000 meals. 49% of these are earned meals volunteering and the other 51% through donations. JBJ Soul Kitchen also invites celebrity guest chefs – including Tom Colicchio, Carla Hall, Diane Hendricks, and Joe Leone – to prepare meals.
Located at the Toms River location of Soul Kitchen, also foundation run, The B.E.A.T. Center (Bringing Everyone All Together), is a “place where families and individuals can access food, job training and resources to help end the cyclical causes of hunger in Ocean County.” Services at this location include healthcare and free tax preparation, a food distribution center, culinary training and children’s after school programs, among other community benefits.
Visit https://www.jbjsoulkitchen.org to learn more.