I’m A Soul Man

For most of us the name of this title might conjure up memories of a Blues Brothers performance.  Though they did a marvelous job with covering a groovy hit, they are not who I wish to talk about.


His name is Jon Bon Jovi.

Why am I talking about Jon Bon Jovi? Oh come on Karen, you’ve got to be kidding me, right? The guy has been singing, rocking and swinging his hair around in front of us on stage for more than 30 years. Well thank God he got rid of the hair a while back. (Ted Nugent take note! Have you ever heard of Locks of Love?) But seriously, why Jon Bon Jovi?

It is obvious that Jon Bon Jovi as a philanthropist has been involved with many charitable organizations over the years. He has funded houses for Habitat for Humanity. He has contributed to the Children with Aids Foundation. He has participated in the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, just to name a few. Then in 2006, he launched his own organization “the Bon Jovi Soul Foundation”. He’s been quoted in Britain’s Daily Telegraph Newspaper as saying, “I think Volunteerism should be fashionable. That’s my goal: To make volunteering the new black.”

In mid October, Jon and his wife Dorothea opened a new restaurant in an old auto body shop near the Red Bank train station in central New Jersey. It’s called the Soul Kitchen and one can eat there if you volunteer to pay it forward or pay-what-you-can. The interior of the restaurant is beautiful. Its tables are covered in cloth, serving up delectable dishes prepared by a chef with entrees such as cornmeal crusted catfish with red beans and rice, grilled chicken breast with homemade basil mayo and rice pilaf, and grilled salmon with soul seasonings, sweet potato mash and sautéed greens, many of which were grown in the herb and vegetable garden right outside the restaurant’s doors. Sounds great right? But here’s the catch.

“There’s no prices on our menu, so if you want to come and you want to make a difference, leave $20 in the envelope on the table. If you can’t afford to eat, you can bus tables, you can wait tables, you can work in the kitchen as a dishwasher or sous chef,” Jon said. “If you say to me, ‘I’m not a people person, ‘I say, ‘That’s not a problem. We’ll take you back to Lunch Break to volunteer with those people. If you don’t want to volunteer with that, we’ll take you to the Food Bank.”

Jon Bon Jovi made it very clear, “This is not an entitlement thing. This is about empowering people because you have to earn that gift certificate.” But he did say, “If you come in and say, I’m hungry, we’ll feed you. But we’re going to need you to do something. It’s very important to what we’re trying to achieve.”

Why go to all this bother one might ask? That all sounds a bit swanky for a glorified undercover soup kitchen. But here’s what Jon had to say in regard to families, “With the economic downturn, one of the things I noticed was that disposable income was one of the first things that went—a lot of memories were made around restaurant tables.” (Could many of the people that you’re referring to Jon be Living on a Prayer?) Then apparently on the night of the grand opening of his new establishment, Jon was seen in the kitchen rolling up his shirtsleeves and volunteering as a dishwasher. He claims he can’t cook.


So please tell me, what do you think? Does Jon have a lot of soul? Having soul means to show fellow feeling, emotion, passion, empathy and compassion. What kind of examples pop into your mind of people you know that have soul? Do you have soul? Can we have more soul? And do you find this important? Do any of you volunteer in your community? What does it mean to you to have soul?

Thank you for your many thoughts and salutations.

Karen McFarland


A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new classmates in my #WANA1011 class and all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!

36 thoughts on “I’m A Soul Man

    1. Karen Post author

      Virginia, I am so happy that you enjoyed this post! Thank you for your comment! Yes, it seems that Jon Bon Jovi does practice what he preaches. That’s pretty cool in my book. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Wicked Wednesdays: The Importance of Community, And Blog Awards | Lena Corazon

  2. Angela Orlowski-Peart

    Thank you for sharing this fact about JBJ. He is definitely doing his share of a community involvement. I admire and respect the celebrities that do that — use their money and celebrity status to help less fortunate ones.

  3. Tameri Etherton

    Jon absolutely has soul! I read about this last month and was excited for him. There is a similar restaurant in Denver that I saw when visiting last year and while we didn’t eat there, I researched it online and was impressed. Restaurants like this are rare, but they are successful.

    I hope nothing but the best for Jon and his Soul Kitchen. The fact that he’s willing to pay it forward as long as the patron doesn’t feel like they can eat for free, I love that. Teach a man to fish and all of that.

    Makes me love Jon Bon Jovi just a little bit more. If that’s possible.

    1. Karen Post author

      Tameri, you get the prize. Well there really is no prize. But you are the first person who saw this. And I like you love Jon even more for what he does for others. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Donna Newton

    How wierd. Natalie (my co-writer) and I were only watching one of his musicvideos yesterday – all in the name of research you understand 🙂

    ALways have liked Jon; even more when he cut his hair and finally I could see his face!

    Great post, Karen – and what a lovely guy he truly is *swooning now*

  5. Julie Hedlund

    Wow, I had no idea he had done that. I’ve always had a soft spot for Bon Jovi anyway, ever since I camped outside the front door of a ticket office to get front row tickets to a concert (yes, I am a geek).

    Also, it was bizarre that you also mentioned Ted Nugent because I saw both Ted and Jon last January when I was in New York for the weekend. Random huh?

    1. Karen Post author

      That is so funny Julie, that you would have seen both Ted and Jon over the course of one weekend. How often does that happen? You get around girl!

  6. Debra Kristi

    A fabulous post! I loved reading this. It warms my heart to hear that kind of thing. I wish I lived near there. I would love to check it out. So cool! I had no idea he opened up a soup kitchen. Thanks Karen!

    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Debra. You are welcome. And yeah, would love to eat there too. How about putting one out on the west coast Jon! I wouldn’t mind serving or washing some dishes for those kinds of meals.The food sounds so good it’s making me feel hungry just thinking about it. Thanks Debra.

  7. Tim L O'Brien

    I had no idea JBJ was doing this and the fact that so many other didn’t as well tells me he is doing it for the right reasons and not for some sort of cheap political gain. What an awesome idea and thank you for bringing it to light for the rest of us!

    1. Karen Post author

      I will admit that I’m usually the skeptic. But in this case, knowing how involved JBJ has been with other charities gave me a whole new perspective on the man and his wife Dorothea. Thanks Tim for your comment!

  8. Coleen Patrick

    Major 80s Bon Jovi fan here! I did not know about the Soul Kitchen–it sounds like a great idea, especially offering different levels of how someone can help. Some people cut checks and others roll up their sleeves, it all works!! Cool post Karen 🙂

  9. Shannon Esposito

    Jon had me at “shot through the heart”…lol. I’m an eighties girl, so Jon will always be my idol, but what he’s done with this restaurant is inspiring! He’s not just feeding people, he’s giving them self-worth and dignity. I’d love to see one of these restaurants in every city!

  10. Melinda

    Wow, I did not know this about Bon Jovi. I love him even more now :-D. I still think he’s one of the hottest men on the planet. He can sing to me anytime! I’d really like to stop by that kitchen though. Nice idea!

    1. Karen Post author

      Uh, yeah. He sure doesn’t hurt the eyes Melinda! And let me know what you think of the food when you stop by the kitchen. It sounds delicious.

  11. Louise Behiel

    I love hearing about people who can afford to do well actually moving forward and making a difference for others. this is unique and I hadn’t heard anything about it. My hats off to him. thanks for posting


  12. August McLaughlin

    Every time I see Bon Jovi I think of “Ally McBeal”… LOL

    The fact that he’s willing to provide food in exchange for service (optionally), does speak of his soulfulness in my view. I love the concept of teaching others rather than merely offering handouts.

    I think we can always have more soul… Soulful seeming pop icons that spring to my mind include Oprah (duh), Maya Angelou and Sandra Bullock. Thanks for another insightful post!

  13. Lena Corazon

    I love hearing about celebrities who use their power for doing good. I’ve had a huge crush on Jon Bon Jovi forever, so it’s lovely to see that he’s involved with so many great enterprises.


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