Most people know Jon Bon Jovi for belting out hits such as Livin’ On A Prayer and It’s My Life, but there’s a side to the US rocker that you may not be aware of.
Back in 2006, the 57-year-old frontman founded the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and a few years later opened his first restaurant, the JBJ Soul Kitchen, in the Red Bank area of New Jersey.
The idea behind the eatery was to ensure those in need could enjoy a hearty three-course meal – and consume it for free if they need to.
Five years later, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation opened their second spot near Toms River, an area that was greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The two restaurants serve as non profit community eateries where individuals or families can come and fill up on a three course meal prepared with natural, locally sourced ingredients.
There are no prices on the menu, only a suggested $20 donation which provides meals for those unable to donate. And those looking to help out can also join the JBJ community and give back by volunteering in the soul kitchen.
The JBJ Soul Kitchens work on a first come first serve basis, but priority will be given to those who are struggling financially.
Speaking about his efforts with the JBJ Soul Foundation, the father-of-four sat down for an interview with CBS last year and was joined by his wife Dorothea Hurley.
The rockstar admitted that the JBJ Soul Foundation was actually the brainchild of his wife of 30 years because one day she leaned across the couch and said to him: “I have this idea…” and Jon admitted: “It was genius.”
“Hunger doesn’t look like what your mind’s eye might imagine,” Dorothea said. “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’s no homeless people here’.
“And they look around the restaurant, and I say, ‘I can name five people right now that I know are homeless in this restaurant right now’, but they don’t look like what you think they’re gonna look like.”
This year, the JBJ Soul Foundation opened their latest location at Rutgers University in Newark,, New Jersey, to address college students’ struggles with food insecurity.
Speaking at the official opening, Bon Jovi said: “Food insecurity is one of the most critical issues college students face today.
“We applaud Gourmet Dining and Rutgers University-Newark who have made tackling this issue a priority so that students always have a place to go for a great-tasting, healthy meal.”
“We couldn’t have found a better place to open our third JBJ Soul Kitchen location and truly believe that when students are supported with basic needs and backed by their community, they can and will go on to do amazing things,” he added.
For more information visit https://www.jonbonjovisoulfoundation.org and see how you can get involved.