Renowned pop star Jon Bon Jovi has transcended his musical success to establish the JBJ Soul Kitchen foundation, which is set to inaugurate its third community restaurant. This latest establishment, situated on the Rutgers University campus in New Jersey, is part of Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea Hurley’s mission to offer healthy and judgment-free meals to those facing financial challenges.
In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning host Tracy Smith, Hurley emphasized the pervasive nature of hunger, dispelling common misconceptions. She explained, “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.” Recognizing the societal taboo surrounding homelessness, the couple aimed to provide support without stigmatization. The first JBJ Soul Kitchen, launched in 2011 in Red Bank, New Jersey, operates on a unique model where menu prices are absent, allowing patrons to pay what they can afford. Those with means can also cover the cost of others’ meals, while those unable to pay are encouraged to volunteer.
The newest project focuses on Rutgers University students struggling to afford nutritious food. Bon Jovi expressed concern, stating, “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?” The couple, committed to addressing community needs, plans to continue opening JBJ Soul Kitchens.
Despite the stark contrast to his life as a performer, Bon Jovi finds a different kind of fulfillment in his philanthropic work. He remarked, “It can obviously never compare to performing or writing songs. 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.” The couple’s dedication to making a positive impact underscores their belief that “the way to feel good is to do good.”