Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Soul Kitchen’
The JBJ Soul Kitchen Celebrates One Year Anniversary
Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Soul Kitchen’Nov 09
The JBJ Soul Kitchen Celebrates One Year Anniversary
October 16, 2012
The JBJ Soul Kitchen celebrates their first year of success; redefining how the issue of hunger can be addressed. The Soul Kitchen has served over 11,500 meals, most recently 31% of their diners were people in-need; and volunteers have donated over 12,200 hours of time to the program.
The JBJ Soul Kitchen began as a pilot program serving meals in 2009, assessing the patrons’ needs and response to the model, before renovating an old 1,100 square foot auto-body shop as the Kitchen’s new, permanent location. While under construction volunteers painted, landscaped and helped transform a 3 bay garage into a beautiful oasis. Neighbors offered food, furniture, dishes, their time and expertise; the Red Bank community welcomed and embraced the Soul Kitchen mission leading up to the grand opening last year on October 19, 2011.
“We are so thankful to everyone in the Red Bank community and beyond for all the support during our first official year of service,” stated Mimi Box, Director of the JBJ Soul Foundation. “It tells us that there is a population of supporters and people in need out there who believe that access to fresh, nutritious food & meals should be available to all, regardless of their economic place in our community. As we look towards the future we hope to continue to spread the mission of the JBJ Soul Foundation through programs such as JBJ Soul Kitchen and help those in need one soul at a time”.
Inspired by the old adage, “teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime” diners in need who come to the Soul Kitchen are empowered – they have the opportunity to earn a seat at the table for themselves and their families through volunteer hours at the Kitchen or other local organizations. They are served by the wait-staff in a lovely restaurant atmosphere with the dignity of having earned their meal. Those patrons who can afford to dine anywhere are rewarded with not only a delicious meal but with the knowledge that by dining out and leaving more than the suggested donation, they’ve contributed to their community.
In addition, Soul Kitchen has been able to provide more than just meals to those who dine at the restaurant; they have connected members of the community to those who are in need of help, in some cases resulting in job opportunities as it did for one gentleman who lost his job in construction last fall. He came to Soul Kitchen and volunteered to wash dishes, clean windows, and help out in any way he could. One night while eating at a community table he met and was hired by a local landlady who needed a handyman. He has since been hired by a contractor and has been working steadily for the last two months.
This spring, Soul Kitchen began a successful fundraising Guest Chef series, which brought celebrity chefs such as Mario Batali and Tom Collichio to Soul Kitchen; as well as brothers Victor and Bobby Rallo, from the local Basil T’s restaurant.
The Soul Kitchen operates as a program of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and is sustained by cash payment from customers who are able to pay the suggested donation (or even a little more).
Please visit our Photo Gallery for images of Soul Kitchen throughout its first year!
Donations to Soul Kitchen help offset the cost of providing meals to those in need. If you would like to donate to the JBJ Soul Kitchen and our mission, please click here.
About Soul Kitchen
Our vision here at Soul Kitchen is to serve healthy, delicious, and when possible, organic meals. At the Soul Kitchen you will notice there are no prices on the menu and you might have been seated with someone you don’t know. Customers pay the minimum donation or volunteer in some way to earn a voucher for a meal.
All are welcome at our table.
At the JBJ Soul Kitchen, a place is ready for you if you are hungry, or if you hunger to make a difference in your community. For we believe that a healthy meal can feed the soul.
Happy are the hands that feed.
Those who volunteer are guided by Soul Kitchen staff through their tasks. Volunteering at Soul Kitchen can lead to qualifying for job training.
When there is love, there is plenty.
As you will see, our menu has no prices. You select what you like and make the minimum donation. If you can afford to donate more you are helping to feed your neighbor. If you are unable to donate, an hour of volunteering pays for your meal.
Good company whets the appetite.
At Soul Kitchen, neighbors from across the street or across town, new friends, families, those in need of help and those with help to offer, come together and share a good meal and the warmth of good company.
Friendship is our daily special.
Introduce yourself to the person seated beside you or across the table. Stay awhile and stay informed of all the ways Soul Kitchen is dedicated to eliminating hunger, building relationships, and celebrating community.
End the meal with a slice of happiness.
At Soul Kitchen the main ingredient is Love, with a large helping of you. Our chefs prepare our healthy, delicious meals with the freshest ingredients, some grown in our own organic garden. At the JBJ Soul Kitchen all are treated with cheerfulness, kindness, and respect.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the JBJ Soul Kitchen?
The Soul Kitchen is a Community Restaurant, a non-profit community program run by the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.
What is a community restaurant?
A Community Restaurant is a place where individuals or families can come to eat a hot, nutritious meal in a warm, welcoming setting and meet their neighbors.
Do I pay for my meal?
Times are tough and we understand. If you are unable to pay for your meal, you can volunteer at the Soul Kitchen as your payment.
What would I have to do?
You could come and prepare food for a meal. You could come and help us set the tables with dishes. Maybe along the way you were a waitress or waiter, you could help out at the restaurant by serving others. We need people to bus tables and help clean or stock items. We need people to wash and dry dishes. There are lots of opportunities to help.
What kind of food is served?
Soul Kitchen serves a 3-course meal based on American Regional cuisine, starting with your choice of salad or soup, followed by a choice of a fish dish, a meat dish or a vegetarian selection. The meal is finished with a fresh baked dessert. All of the dishes are made with fresh, local (and when possible) organic ingredients.
View a sample menu for Soul Kitchen here.
If I wanted to pay, how much would a meal cost?
A donation of $10 per meal covers the cost of each meal, anything extra helps defray the cost of someone else’s meal.
How do I make a reservation?
Reservations are not needed at JBJ Soul Kitchen. We welcome everyone at our table and will seat guests on a first come, first serve basis.
How can I volunteer?
Our volunteer opportunities fall into two categories: 1) those that need to volunteer in order to provide a meal for themselves and/or their families; and 2) those that volunteer to help staff the kitchen to assist in providing the meals to those in need. For those that need to volunteer in order to provide a meal for themselves and/or their families, JBJ Soul Kitchen will always have an opportunity open for you. Please visit us during our hours of operation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We understand that there are many who, in addition to paying, also want to provide some service and we encourage all to get involved in their communities. Our needs are almost filled, however we are still looking for volunteers to assist with washing dishes & busing tables, who live in the Red Bank area, and can volunteer on a regular basis. If you fit the above description and are over the age of 15 please email us at: email@example.com.
Please continue to visit our website for updates and information on specific volunteer opportunities or events.
We look forward to serving you at the Soul Kitchen.