Rock Stars With Heart: Bon Jovi Pays It Forward

One of the largest domestic problems facing our society is the inability of low-income and homeless families getting enough to eat, but the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen of Red Bank is ready to lend a hand where it can. This time, Jon Bon Jovi’s self-named charity is bringing hope to the Union Hose Fire Co. 1 in Union Beach, New Jersey. The community kitchen, which had previously been hosted in the facility, closed its doors in July and it had seemed that residents in need would have to fend for themselves until Mr. Bon Jovi stepped up, reports Asbury Park Press.

Visitors and passersby can now see the following message on the marquee outside the fire hose company.

“Welcome to the JBJ Soul Kitchen sponsors Spoon Full of Hope.”

Wednesday’s opening night hosted 20 people, serving three-course meals at its 5:00 p.m. service. Bon Jovi models the system of payment after the Soul Kitchen, so customers will never find prices on the menus. Instead, Mr. Bon Jovi’s charity asks that customers pay $10.00 per person ($5.00 for children). Those unable to pay are asked to donate one hour of their time volunteering in the kitchen. Each person opting to volunteer in this way will earn a dinner certificate for themselves plus four family members.

“It helps out the residents of the borough. To give back, that’s what we want to do,” said Dennis Dayback, a Union Beach resident and volunteer worker.

Jon Bon Jovi built a name for himself as a rock musician with such albums as Slippery When Wet and New Jersey, just to name a couple of his band’s 12 studio albums, and Jon has since applied that brand to helping those in need. Recognizing a need in his own community, Bon Jovi developed his own charity organization and set himself to the task of developing a way to provide the needy with well-balanced meals. The first Soul Kitchen was opened in Red Bank by Jon Bon Jovi in 2009 and has progressed from there. For his first restaurant, Mr. Bon Jovi renovated an abandoned auto body shop, turning its 1,100 square footage into a kitchen and dining area, according to the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

“At a time when 1 in 5 households are living at or below the poverty level, and at a time when 1 out of 6 Americans are food insecure, this is a restaurant whose time has come. This is a place based on and built on community – by and for the community.”

The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation feels that their business model helps to empower the disadvantaged by helping them to earn their meals, as opposed to simply giving them handouts, while those that can afford to pay gain the satisfaction that they have directly helped their community by opting to eat at one of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation’s restaurants, instead of choosing one of the many other options available to them.

The foundation hasn’t finished yet. They plan to continue spreading hope and good meals with a planned expansion to Ocean County. Bon Jovi’s Foundation is looking into opening their next restaurant in Tom’s River and they are currently looking forward to local assistance from that community.

Earlier in 2014, Mr. Bon Jovi made news when he placed a bid to buy the Buffalo Bills football team. This Inquisitr article details Bon Jovi’s bid and the outcome of the bidding.