According to Jon Bon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Kitchen, one in three students pursuing a 4 year degree at a US college struggle with obtaining consistent food and food insecurity is a very real thing in this community. Jon Jovi and his wife Dorothea Hurley are out in force, on a mission to feed as many homeless and hungry individuals in their community.
Living on A Prayer
Anyone visiting Jon Jovi’s JBJ Soul Kitchen is allowed to eat freshly cooked, lovingly prepared meal, even if they have no money to pay for it, provided they pledge a few hours of volunteer work at the restaurant in return. This week however, Jon Jovi and his wife teamed up with Rutgers University to cater for a completely different demographic of people in need- struggling students on university campuses.
The couple’s third restaurant just opened it’s doors to thousands of students at the Rutgers-Newark University where more than 50 percent of the 13,000 enrolled students are under the exceptional financial need program, meaning they are not even able to afford the full fee of their degree. Speaking at the grand opening, Bon Jovi said it was not a rite of passage for university students to work hard and eat nothing but ramen noodles, and that every student deserves the opportunity to achieve their dreams with little external worries by alleviating their food insecurities and providing them with hope and support.
Global Rockstar, Hometown Hero
Speaking to NBC Nightly News, Jon Jovi explained the reasoning behind the endeavour taken by him along with his wife. He explained starting out with opening the first restaurant ten years ago in Red Bank, New Jersey after it was hit by Super Storm Sandy, followed by another restaurant at Toms River since these areas were most affected from the damage and destruction caused by the storm.
Their third restaurant at Rutgers-Newark University campus offers three course dining meals and the students have the option to pay for the food using cash or volunteer work either at the restaurant or elsewhere at the campus. Additionally, students and faculty also have the option to make advance payments for other customers by donating a minimum of $12 which will cover the expenses of non-paying customers. Though there are no immediate plans in place, Jon Jovi believes there is potential to replicate the restaurant model across other university campuses across New Jersey and United States.