How often can we find a rock star that puts his name to good use? American singer Jon Bon Jovi has started a foundation that has been bringing about positive changes in the lives of Philadelphians and New Jersey residents for the past 5 years – charity drives that help people in a variety of ways, from small things like teddy bears for abused children, new socks, books, baby clothes, school supplies, to the more serious philanthropic projects like homes for the homeless children and raising funds for kids with cancer. The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, founded in 2006, also paved the way to Bon Jovi’s new philanthropic venture, Soul Kitchen.
Soul Kitchen is a community restaurant that will soon rise in New Jersey to replace an old auto repair shop which has been closed for a number of years now. It started construction last April and is due for completion this month. What makes the restaurant special? It plans to cater nutritious meals to everyone with no fixed price on the menu, and only suggests a $10 donation or pay-what-you-can. Money is not supposed to be an issue–if some people cannot pay for their meal, they can put on their aprons and works it off in the kitchen or can do any volunteer work. Anyone who walks in is welcome and is equally entitled to have a sumptuous meal. For those who have the capacity to shell out $20 or more, they are welcome to pay for the meal of others.
Inspired by Denver’s SAME (So All May Eat) Café, Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea envisioned a community restaurant that would give families a chance to eat good food and bond together despite the recession. Just like SAME Café, they aim to provide food in a dignified and respectful way to anyone who comes to the restaurant.
Jon Bon Jovi (John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.), the eldest among three siblings, was born and raised in a modest household in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. His father, a former Marine who later on became a barber, was of Slovak and Sicilian descent while his mother, also a former Marine who shortly became a florist, was of Russian and German ancestry. He started to develop his extraordinary skill in guitar and his avid interest in music at the age of seven and continued to embrace his passion till he formed his own band in 1983. Now, the famous Jon Bon Jovi who won the hearts of millions of people through his distinct songs “Never Say Goodbye”, “You Give Love A Bad Name”, and “I’ll Be There For You” is now set again to be talked about across the country, but this time, not for being a legendary music icon but for another philanthropic act – a new legacy that would touch the lives of many Americans.
Bon Jovi is one of America’s famed celebrities who are socially aware and involved in a number of charitable projects. He is Founding Ambassador of the Habitat for Humanity Ambassador Program, a housing program which is supported by celebrities like former President Jimmy Carter, Jessica Alba, Justin Timberlake and a host of others. Last December, he was named by President Barack Obama as one of the members of the White House Council for Community Solutions, which aims to provide advice to the president on excellent ways in solving community needs.
The opening of Soul Kitchen is yet another kind-hearted venture, aiming that all people, whatever their economic status are, deserve a chance to dine at a respectable place– yes, wearing aprons and doing volunteer work–but eating healthy food, with their dignity and self-esteem untarnished and intact.