Jon Bon Jovi is a man who wears many hats: He is one of the most influential rockers in the music industry, and he has been an actor on famous TV shows like Ally McBeal. He has also been chosen several times as one of the most attractive artists and is a determined political activist as well. However, he is less mentioned for his charity work, even though he stands out on this matter among many celebrities. He owns two restaurants where people without many resources can enjoy food without paying.
Soul Kitchen is the name of the non-profit organization managed by the JBJ Foundation, an institution that is led by the artist and holds his initials. At Soul Kitchen, plates do not have prices, and paying the bill is only optional. Those that can do so are asked to make a $20 donation, and those who are not able to, even people who are homeless, are also welcomed into the restaurant to eat and volunteer later in the kitchen.
According to the restaurant’s website, 51 percent of the meals they’ve served to this day was paid for by donations. The remaining 49 percent were covered by the voluntary work of people without financial resources. This is why one of the restaurant’s mottos is: “All are welcome at our table.”
The first of those establishments opened its doors in October 2011, in the Red Bank area of New Jersey. That’s the city where Bon Jovi was born and after which he named his fourth album released back in 1988. The second restaurant was opened in 2016, near to Toms River, an area affected by Hurricane Sandy, that shook the country back in 2012.
No reservations are required to eat at Soul Kitchen. Diners are assigned a shared table in order of arrival, where they can dine, even with strangers. That makes social interaction more natural and smooth for everyone, regardless of their economic conditions. All those who are most in need of a hot plate always have priority to sit.
The menu consists of three courses inspired by local American cuisine. The menu changes every ten days. The first course consists of either a soup or salad. The main course is usually made with either white or red meat or fish, although vegetarian and gluten-free options are available s well — finally, there is dessert, that varies according to the season. The meals are prepared with nutritious and organic ingredients from the restaurant’s garden itself and the farm is owned by the NGO.
Besides these two restaurants, the JBJ Foundation has built homes in the city of Philadelphia for the homeless, including young people and war veterans. According to Brightside also funded the construction of a center which helps teenage mothers and their babies and financed a shelter to provide beds and medical care to the homeless.
The non-profit has also launched a program that teaches people how to write effective resumes to employers and how to develop skills to do better at job interviews, while it even provides them with free financial, legal, and labor advice.