Jon Bon Jovi's Soul Kitchen restaurant will now address the issue of food insecurity at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey head-on with the opening of an outpost location. The eatery will serve both students and faculty at the institute of higher learning.
As reported by CBS News, the Roll and Roll Hall of Famer and his wife, Dorothea Hurley, stood side-by-side at the grand opening of the restaurant. The new location will model itself after the couple's other eateries in Red Bank and Toms River, New Jersey where diners pay it forward with a set price for a meal or volunteer at the facility if they cannot afford to pay for their food.
The twist to their concept is that the diners seated next to one another do not know who in their community may or may not have paid, allowing everyone to enjoy their meal without shame or worry that others might know of their situation.The couple learned of a critical issue that many college students face -- a struggle called food insecurity -- where young people may not have enough money after paying for tuition, books, and room and board to afford any extras, like enough food for the semester.
"Food insecurity is one of the most critical issues college students face today," Jon said in a statement upon the opening of the facility.
"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."The couple continue to work together on tackling community-based needs in their home state of New Jersey, partnering with leaders to facilitate important changes that will benefit those who are most in need.
Together, Jon and Dorothea have made their philanthropic work their passion project. The JBJ Soul Foundation has helped by providing support for over 600 units of affordable housing in 10 states for thousands of people.The couple were instrumental in the creation of the Parker Family Health Center, a free clinic located near their original Soul Kitchen restaurant located in Red Bank, New Jersey.
They also assisted in the opening of the Hope & Comfort Warming Center, which is located in a church-owned home in Red Bank. The center can accommodate up to a dozen men for overnight stays during cold evenings in the Garden State. It provides the men with cots and blankets, a shower, and snacks during the nights when it is too dangerous to remain outside.