JBJ Soul Kitchen opens on Newark campus, provides food options for struggling students
Students at the Rutgers University—Newark campus who may struggle to afford food can now turn to the JBJ Soul Kitchen, a new “community restaurant” opened by New Jersey native Jon Bon Jovi, according to an article from NJ Advance Media.
Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea Hurley, met with Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) on Wednesday at the Paul Robeson Campus Center on the Newark campus to officially open the restaurant, according to the article.
“Dignity and respect are always on the menu regardless of socio-economic status,” Hurley said, according to the article. “Students have enough to worry about. Worrying about where their next meal will come from should not be on the list.”
With locations already in Red Bank and Toms River, the JBJ Soul Kitchen was founded eight years ago, according to The Daily Targum. It was created as an idea to help those in need within New Jersey.
“Hunger doesn’t look like what your mind’s eye might imagine,” Hurley said, according to the Targum.
“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.’ And they look around the restaurant, and I say, ‘I can name five people right now that I know are homeless in this restaurant right now, but they don’t look like what you think they’re gonna look like.’”
The Newark location of the JBJ Soul Kitchen does not have prices on the menu and instead asks patrons for a suggested donation of $12 to cover the cost of their meal and someone else’s, according to the Targum.
“When you send your kids off to school, you don’t think about, after tuition, books, living, what’s left for food?” Bon Jovi said, according to the Targum. “And so few are on meal plans to begin with. And that’s another reason why they’re eating ramen noodles. We all think it’s the rite of passage — to study hard and eat the ramen noodles. But how about if it’s the only thing you can afford?”
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