I'll Be There For You
What makes Jon Bon Jovi so popular, besides the obvious good looks? Is it that he’s an influential musician with Grammy, Billboard, Brit, CMT and American Music awards? Or a successful actor in film and television including Sex and the City and Ally McBeal? Maybe it’s that, hit music and pop culture aside, Jon Bon Jovi is transparent - what you see is what you get - and he is a compassionate activist for the poor and the homeless. Most recently, Jon Bon Jovi can be seen working in back of a couple restaurants, places where diners without many resources can enjoy food without having to pay. Soul Kitchen is the name of the nonprofit organization managed by the JBJ Foundation, an institution led by the artist. At Soul Kitchen, plates don’t have prices, and paying the bill is only optional. Those who can afford to pay do so with a donation and those who can't, including people who are homeless, are welcome into dine in the restaurant and volunteer in the kitchen. Over 50 percent of the meals served to date have been paid for by donations. The remaining meals were covered by the voluntary work of people without financial resources. The first of these establishments opened 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. The second restaurant was opened in 2016, near Toms River, an area profoundly affected by Hurricane Sandy. “Our mission has always been to affect positive change and address the issues of hunger and homelessness,” explained Jon Bon Jovi. He continues, “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.” No reservations are required to eat at Soul Kitchen. Diners are assigned a shared table in order of arrival, sometimes dining with strangers. This makes social interaction more natural and smooth for everyone, regardless of their economic conditions. Like hit songs and fandemonium, philanthropy is not foreign to Bon Jovi. During an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2005, Jon Bon Jovi donated $1 million to the Angel Network foundation. In 2007, he announced a project that would rehabilitate a block of fifteen homes in north Philadelphia. The Soul Foundation is Bon Jovi’s latest effort to help break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
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