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.
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!