Diners at the original Red Bank location, as well as the Toms River store (opened in 2016) are asked to pay a suggested donation, which covers not only their meal but someone else’s as well. If a diner can’t pay, they’re asked to volunteer.
The system has fed countless people in Monmouth and Ocean County, not far from Bon Jovi’s Sayreville hometown, and now, the New Jersey rock icon and his wife, Dorothea, are set to appear on “CBS Sunday Morning” this Sunday to discuss giving back to the community.
“Hunger doesn’t look like what your mind’s eye might imagine,” Dorothea tells the show’s reporter, Tracy Smith, noting that most of the Soul Kitchen labor and food is donated. “It’s the people at your church. It’s the kids that go to school with your kids. And I think that was eye-opening for a lot of the community here that said, ‘Oh, there’s no homeless people here.’”
When asked how feeding people compare to his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame music career, Bon Jovi says: “It can obviously never compare to performing or writing songs. But what it does do is give you the same sense of fulfillment, I think, when I leave here at night and you see the lives you touch. I have left here, you know, after a long night of volunteering and said, ‘That makes you feel the same kind of good.’ You know? And that’s what I say, the way to feel good is to do good. You know? Find your good – and do it.”
A third JBJ Soul Kitchen is in the works on the Rutgers University campus in Newark, in effort to feed students in need.
“We all think it’s a rite of passage,” Bon Jovi says, “to study hard and eat ramen noodles. How about if it’s the only thing you can afford?”
Bon Jovi adds that additional kitchens will continue to open as needed.
Watch the full Bon Jovi interview Sunday at 9 a.m.
UPDATE: This story was updated to say the third JBJ Soul Kitchen restaurant will be on Rutgers’ Newark campus, not the New Brunswick campus.