Soulful Kitchen: Jon Bon Jovi gives back to Jersey--and then some

Staff of Soul Kitchen

If you've ever wanted to break bread with Jon Bon Jovi, you can (at least in spirit). Bon Jovi's non-profit JBJ Soul Foundation opened Soul Kitchen in his home state of New Jersey, a "community kitchen" that provides fresh, organic meals to anyone in exchange for either cash or volunteer hours. Founded in 2009 as an effort to help the homeless in the area, the restaurant found a permanent location last fall. There are no prices on the menu; rather diners are encouraged to either donate what they can or do volunteer work in exchange for their meal.

That's not all Bon Jovi is doing to help the homeless. His JBJ Soul Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, recently launched the Project REACH (Real-time Electronic Access for Caregivers and the Homeless) Mobile App challenge, which invites the general public to come up with tech solutions to match homeless folks with services. The goal of the project is to create "a free, easy-to-use, and broadly accessible web and smartphone app to provide locality-based services available to the homeless, including shelters, health clinics, and food banks". The contest, hosted by Challenge.gov, was inspired when Bon Jovi and his staffers noticed a need for real-time information about local services for their homeless staff and patrons.

Earlier this week, Bon Jovi told the standing-room-only crowd at the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C. about the origins of the contest, and showcased five finalist apps from Project REACH. The winner will be determined at the end of the summer once the apps have been field tested with their intended audience. 

I'm impressed enough with what he's doing to help the homeless community that this former New Wave girl just may have just become a Jon Bon Jovi fan.

Image: JBJ Soul Kitchen

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