Bright Side

Jon Bon Jovi Opened 2 Charity Restaurants So That People in Need Can Eat Without Paying

Jon Bon Jovi is a man that wears many hats: He’s one of the most influential rockers in the music industry, and he’s been an actor on famous TV shows like Ally McBeal. He’s also been chosen several times as one of the most attractive artists and is a determined political activist as well. However, he’s less mentioned for his charity work, even though he stands out on this matter among many celebrities. He owns 2 restaurants where people without many resources can enjoy food without paying.

Bright Side wants to tell you all about this project that has already served over 104,800 meals. Don’t miss the bonus at the end of the article to find out other not-so-well-known facts about this fantastic musician.

“All are welcome at our table.”

Soul Kitchen is the name of the nonprofit organization managed by the JBJ Foundation, an institution led by the artist, and which holds his initials. At Soul Kitchen, plates don’t have prices, and paying the bill is only optional. Those who can do so are asked to make a $20 donation, and those who aren’t 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% of the meals they’ve served to this day were paid for by donations. The remaining 49% were covered by the voluntary work of people without financial resources. That’s why one of the restaurant’s mottos is: “All are welcome at our table.”

Bon Jovi’s love for New Jersey

The first of these establishments opened its doors in October 2011, in the Red Bank area of New Jersey. This is the city where Bon Jovi was born and after which he named his fourth album released in 1988. The second restaurant was opened in 2016, near Toms River, an area profoundly affected by Hurricane Sandy, which shook the country in 2012.

“Our mission has always been to affect positive change and address the issues of hunger and homelessness,” explained the author of hits like You Give Love a Bad Name and Livin ’on a Prayer when opening his second restaurant. “There are no prices on our menu. So if you are in need, you participate. And that means bussing the table, washing a dish, working in our gardens,” he added.

There are no reservations and tables are shared with strangers.

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. This makes social interaction more natural and smooth for everyone, regardless of their economic conditions. And all those who are most in need of a hot plate, always have priority to sit.

There’s a 3-course menu prepared with organic and nutritious ingredients.

The menu consists of 3 courses inspired by local American cuisine. The menu changes every 10 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, but vegetarian and gluten-free options are also available — finally, there’s dessert, which varies according to the season. The meals are prepared with nutritious and organic ingredients from the restaurant’s own garden itself and the farm is owned by the NGO.

You can have a look at the menu on the restaurant’s website.

Housing and roofs to “break the cycle of poverty”

Besides these 2 restaurants, the JBJ Foundation has built homes in the city of Philadelphia for the homeless, including young people and veterans. It also funded the construction of a center that helps teenage moms and their babies and financed a shelter to provide beds and medical care to the homeless.

The foundation created by the rock star and his wife, Dorothea Hurley, has a clear mission: "To break the cycle of hunger, poverty and homelessness through developing partnerships, creating programs and providing grant funding to support innovative community benefit organizations."

The non-profit has also launched a program that teaches people how to write effective resumes to employers, how to develop skills to do better at job interviews, and it even provides them with free financial, legal, and labor advice.

Bonus: Unknown or forgotten facts about Bon Jovi

“You. Me. Last chance!”

  • His mother, Carol Sharkey, was one of the first bunnies on the cover of Playboy magazine. She was responsible for her son’s love for music.
  • His real name is John Francis Bongiovi Jr.
  • The first professional recording he did was in 1980 for an album titled Christmas in the Stars. The record mixed Christmas songs with songs from the Star Wars saga. Bon Jovi’s cousin was the co-owner of the studio in which it was recorded and advised him to perform in one of the songs.
  • He won a Golden Globe in 1991 for “Best Original Song” for the song Blaze of Glory, which was part of the film Young Guns II. He was also nominated for an Oscar that same year, but Madonna took the statuette for the song Sooner or Later from the film Dick Tracy.
  • He suffers from eye hypersensitivity. The singer is very sensitive to light and tobacco smoke and that’s the reason why he usually wears sunglasses.
  • He is an admirer of Frank Sinatra, who was also born in New Jersey. He used to have a picture of the singer in his dressing room every time he performed. One of Bon Jovi’s most famous song, It’s My Life, even mentions Sinatra. It says, “Like Frankie said, I did it my way,” alluding to the song My Way by Sinatra.

Did you know about this respectable side of Bon Jovi? Do you know another celebrity who also helps his or her community? Tell us in the comment section!