Books & Music

Jon Bon Jovi’s Nonprofit Restaurants Are Giving Free Meals To People In Need

It's great to see so many people helping others right now!

Rock superstar Jon Bon Jovi is pitching in to help folks in need during the coronavirus crisis — and donating his time to help his team on the ground.

Bon Jovi, who already funds a small fleet of charity operations through his JBJ Soul Foundation, shared a photo of himself washing dishes at his JBJ Soul Kitchen restaurant in Red Bank, New Jersey. The restaurant normally serves a pay-what-you-can menu for people who need a little leg up, but they’ve transitioned to offering meals for free during these difficult days.

“If you can’t do what you do … do what you can,” reads the Instagram post:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B960Cd0hCCw/

Under normal conditions, Soul Kitchen diners can volunteer their time to “pay off” a meal at the kitchen. But with New Jersey experiencing a state of emergency, volunteering is off for the moment, according to Today. Instead, the two Soul Kitchen locations are using regular staff and serving meals totally free — carry-out only, of course.

Bon Jovi isn’t the only famous name who’s stepping up to provide food for those who need it. Chef José Andrés, who runs a small empire of high-end restaurants, is already well-known for his philanthropic efforts: His World Kitchen nonprofit cooks and delivers meals to victims of natural disasters all over the world.

Now, as NBC4 Washington reports, Andrés is closing his restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. Some of his 11 locations will serve as community kitchens to feed anyone who stops in.

In an emotional Instagram post: Andrés announced the closing of Jaleo, one of his first restaurants, and its new function as a kitchen:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B90ovLvh8so/

Meanwhile, many chefs around the country are giving back to their own work communities by setting up funds and opening their kitchens to assist restaurant workers who have been laid off recently. Chef Edward Lee transformed his restaurant 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Kentucky into a temporary relief center where service workers could receive toiletries, cleaning supplies, diapers and meals.

“We saw an immediate need to open up our kitchen to help the millions of restaurant workers that are out of work, many of whom are living paycheck to paycheck,” Lee told CNN.

The makeshift relief center is one aspect of the Restaurant Workers Relief Program, which Lee launched using his nonprofit, The Lee Initiative. Other chefs and restaurant owners have since joined the Restaurant Workers Relief Program to assist their own workers in cities beyond Louisville, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Cincinnati, Boston, New Orleans and many others.

The Lee Initiative posted on Instagram with a detailed caption about the program:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B9zrVZcFHuN/

All sorts of famous folks are doing what they can to help their communities right now. Fashion icon Donatella Versace donated 200,000 euros to a hospital in Milan; Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donated $1,000,000 to fight hunger; designer Christian Siriano offered the services of his sewing workshop to make masks; and sports stars from Steph Curry to Russell Wilson are pitching in to support their communities.

It’s great to see these familiar faces joining the effort!