Jon Bon Jovi, the very popular rock star has proven to be way more than that. He put up his own foundation called the JBJ Soul Kitchen, which is about to open the doors on their third community restaurant. People that don’t have money to pay for a healthy and nutritious meal can come into any of their three restaurants and have a chance to eat a good meal. The third branch is opening in the Rutgers University campus located in New Jersey.
Bon Jovi, along with his wife Dorothea Hurley talked about the inspiration they had when they started JBJ Soul Kitchen to CBS Sunday Morning host, Tracy Smith:
“Hunger doesn’t look like what your mind’s eye might imagine. It’s the people at your church. It’s the kids that go to school with your kids. And I think that was eye-opening for a lot of the community here that said, ‘oh, there are no homeless people here.’”
Being homeless is a social taboo that not everybody is comfortable talking about. Because of the stigma behind this situation, people that have found themselves homeless might not have the strength and courage to ask for help or get the access to the basic human resources they need and deserve.
With the main goal of JBJ Soul Kitchen to provide the community and need with healthy and nutritious food, the couple opened their first branch in Red Bank, New Jersey back in 2011. The kitchen doesn’t have a menu with prices, so the visitors that come in can pay in numerous ways, and not only by giving money.
If the guests cannot pay for a meal, they will be asked to volunteer. Also, if there is a guest that can pay, they can also shoulder other people’s meals. Nearly all the work that is put into running this kitchen is done by volunteers, and most of the food is also donated by residents.
The third branch of Bon Jovi is designed for the students in Rutgers University who don’t have the budget to pay for a nutritious meal. “We all think it’s a rite of passage to study hard and eat ramen noodles. How about if it’s the only thing you can afford?” Bon Jovi said.
The power couple is not stopping here. They want to expand and open more branches as long as people have a need for it. It’s obviously different from the rock star life that Bon Jovi has known throughout his career, but helping others comes with a big sense of fulfilment as well.
“It can obviously never compare to performing or writing songs,” said the rockstar. “But what it does do is it gives you the same sense of fulfillment, I think, when I leave here at night and you see the lives you touch. I have left here, you know, after a long night of volunteering and said, ‘That makes you feel the same kind of good.’ You know? And that’s what I say, the way to feel good is to do good, you know? Find your good and do it.”
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