Monthly Archives: February 2012


The Monday Night Mirage with Guest Chef Mario Batali

The Monday Night Mirage with Guest Chef Mario Batali
View more photos from this event here.

Mario Batali, chef/owner of 13 restaurants, as well as TV personality of shows such as The Chew, Iron Chef America and Molto Mario graced the Soul Kitchen to cook an eclectic fare of what he called New Jersey inspired Italian food. He was joined by his executive chef and sous chef from Babbo, as well as his wine steward Patrick from Otto Enoteca Pizzeria and hospitality & green initiative specialist Elizabeth. Our own Chef Terrence, also assisted them in the kitchen. They prepared an awesome selection of seasonal menu items off their current menu.

As the guests arrived, they were greeted at the door by Soul Kitchen’s Outreach Coordinator Lynne and one of our favorite volunteers Erika. As they were escorted in they received a fresh squeezed Blood Orange Bellini to cleanse their pallet and begin the navigation through Mario’s menu.

First Course: Neci, a chestnut flour crepe filled with wild mushrooms and parmigiano topped with a light radicchio salad.
Second Course: Lune, a hand made ravioli filled with pumpkin and sweet potato puree finished with a brown butter sage sauce.
Third Course: Hen, a seared Guinea Hen thigh deboned and over with fregula and a black truffle vinaigrette.
Dessert: Budino, a fig and apple cake with creme fraiche and a small biscotti.

The dinner was a huge success, between the Bellini and the Ravioli the guests, most of which were local business owners and friends, could not stop raving about the magical and entertaining experience.

For the Soul Kitchen, it was exactly what we had hoped it would be, a success. It assisted us in raising awareness of and funds for our mission: to empower the hungry to provide for themselves by taking advantage of volunteer opportunities within the community and, thereby, earning a healthy and nutritious meal. We hope that this effort will help eradicate food insecurity in communities by providing opportunities for people in need to have access to nutritious meals on a daily basis for themselves and their families. A HUGE thanks to ALL who made this night so spectacular!


Covenant House Rights of Passage

See more photos

PHILADELPHIA – Formerly homeless youth will take part in a special ribbon cutting ceremony today at their new Covenant House Rights of Passage apartments in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.
“The Rights of Passage Program not only provides a safe place for homeless youth, but also provides skills and experiences needed to become independent and responsible adults,” said Mayor Michael Nutter. “The city is proud to be part of such an important and unique program.”

The Covenant House Rights of Passage program is based on the simple belief that all children have the right to pass into adulthood without being abused and homeless. The new housing development consists of 10 two-bedroom units, and includes outdoor recreational space, a lounge and computer lab, laundry facilities, and offices for program support staff. It will provide temporary housing for 20 homeless youths under the age of 21.

“Today is a celebration of the lives of the young people who will call this home,” said Jon Bon Jovi. “It’s a victory over the issues that forced them into homelessness and economic despair. Through the funding and creation of programs and partnerships like this, we can all support innovative community efforts to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.”

The Rights of Passage apartments in Kensington are a direct response to the growing need for transitional housing for young adults in Philadelphia. Covenant House alone serves more than 500 young people every year through its Crisis Shelter, with limited resources for transitioning them to independence. This expanded Rights of Passage program is the final piece of Covenant House’s continuum of care that provides youth with both the joy of independence and the stability of a safety net.

“This is a dream come true for our kids, a chance to have a place to live and work and grow and build new futures for themselves after a tough start in life,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “We are here today because of the amazing support we have received from Jon Bon Jovi and his JBJ Soul Foundation, from Mayor Nutter and his staff, from our friends at the Connelly Foundation, the Horn Charitable Trust, and from thousands of private citizens who believe in our kids. In the midst of such difficult economic times, today is a great example of what we can accomplish together.”

Since 1999 Covenant House has been providing faith-based services to children suffering on the street. The Rights of Passage Program requires all residents to be employed for a minimum of 30 hours per week, participate in life skills classes, attend to daily chores, complete three or more hours of community service each month, and pay rent. Aftercare is also provided to graduates of the program.

“We are so excited to finally cut the ribbon and open these apartments for our kids,” said Cordella Hill, Executive Director of Covenant House Pennsylvania. “What started as a dream eight years ago is finally becoming a reality. This is a truly monumental day for homeless youth in Philadelphia.”

Funding for this project includes $400,000 from the City of Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund; $600,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and distributed by the Office of Housing and Community Development, as well as large grants from Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, The Connelly Foundation, the David A. and Helen P. Horn Charitable Trust, the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation and over $500,000 from individual supporters of Covenant House.

For more information on Covenant House Pennsylvania, please visit their Website


Connelly House

See more photos

PHILADELPHIA, May 16, 2011 – After years of planning and construction, today Project H.O.M.E.
and Bethesda Project are partnering with Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and Brian
Hudson from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, to unveil Connelly House, the first LEED-
certified, affordable housing facility in Center City, which is named for the philanthropic legacy
of John F. and Josephine C. Connelly, founders of the Connelly Foundation. The two nonprofit
organizations are dedicated to serving the needs of the homeless and formerly homeless Philadelphians,
and worked in partnership for the first time, along with the JBJ Soul Foundation to build a facility that houses 79 men and women.

“Bringing this project to life was a tremendous team effort between Project H.O.M.E., Bethesda Project, the Connelly Foundation, The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, St. John the Evangelist Church and the local community,” said Sister Mary Scullion, Executive Director of Project H.O.M.E. “It is a great feeling to see all of the hard work and collaboration pay off as we recently filled the last room in Connelly House, which 79 men and women now call home.”

The .18-acre square-shaped site is located in the center of Philadelphia’s business district at 13th and Market Streets. The eight-story building is 63,620 square-feet and consists of 79 single resident units. The building also features a multi-purpose room, a laundry room, an exercise room, multiple kitchens, offices, storage and a lobby/reception area. The building, located behind St. John the Evangelist church, is surrounded by commercial and institutional buildings, including the SEPTA building, Loews hotel, Macy’s, and the PSFS building, among many others.

“It is not often you see an affordable housing facility built in the heart of Center City,” said Father Domenic Rossi, Executive Director of Bethesda Project. “The support this project has received from the community has been remarkable, and illustrates that Philadelphia shares our passion to end homelessness. The Connelly House residents will have close and easy access to transportation and all of the great opportunities Center City offers its residents, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results of this collaboration.”

Another important aspect of the building is that it will be LEED-certified. Environmentally-friendly components of the building include a green roof, highly insulated walls to improve thermal performance, a rainwater collection system for irrigation and non-potable use, high-efficiency mechanical systems and lighting, 20% of materials for the facility are constructed using recycled content and 75% of all demolition materials were recycled. The project is currently seeking Silver LEED Certification status in all six categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Material and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design Process.

In addition to serving as a living space, the new building also houses parish offices and a community room for Project H.O.M.E and Bethesda Project programs. The two parts of the building have separate entrances and are designed to operate independently. The residential component has direct street access and embodies many features and amenities often found in Center City apartment buildings.

“Connelly Foundation has partnered with Project H.O.M.E. since its early efforts toward improving the quality of life of innumerable Philadelphians. Our Founders, John and Josephine Connelly, would be honored to have their names associated with this wonderful new building that will be a place of respite and hope.”

Samir Duncan, a Connelly House resident, said “I feel blessed to be living at Connelly House and I am in love with it here. I see such potential for the residents to form a strong community that will give voice to those who don’t always have a voice—homeless men and women and those suffering from mental illness and recovery.”

About Project H.O.M.E
Since 1989, Project H.O.M.E. has helped more than 8,000 people break the cycle of homelessness and poverty by providing a continuum of care that includes street outreach, supportive housing and comprehensive services that focus on health care, education and employment. The organization also works to prevent homelessness and poverty through comprehensive neighborhood revitalization in North Philadelphia. These efforts include the renovation of vacant or deteriorated houses that are then sold to first-time homebuyers; economic reinvestment along the Ridge Avenue Corridor; adult and youth education and enrichment programs at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs; and community-based health care services. To learn more, visit

About Bethesda Project
The mission of Bethesda Project is to find and care for the abandoned poor and to be family with those who have none. Since its founding in 1979, Bethesda Project staff and volunteers have helped single men and women who are homeless in Philadelphia by providing emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing, and supportive services designed to help people leave homelessness behind and live a life of human dignity. The organization serves more than 6,000 different individuals annually at 16 sites in and around Center City. For information on how to support Bethesda Project as a volunteer or a donor, please visit


Hopeworks n’ Camden C.R.I.B.

See more photos

On Monday, November 15th Jon Bon Jovi visited two of the Soul Foundation’s community partners, the Hopeworks ‘N Camden C.R.I.B. in Camden, NJ and the Connelly House in Center City Philadelphia.

Jon’s first stop was in Camden, NJ where he visited with the students and staff of Hopeworks and the C.R.I.B. (Community Responding In Belief). The JBJSF provided funding for this project which opened its doors to its first resident in September 2010. The C.R.I.B. offers students a safe atmosphere with structured learning where youth can succeed. C.R.I.B. will house up to 10 youth, ages 18 and older, who must also be either enrolled in college courses or employed.

To view photos from Jon’s visit, please click HERE

For more information about Hopeworks ‘N Camden and the C.R.I.B. program please click HERE

Jon’s second stop of the day was to check on progress at the Connelly House in Center City Philadelphia. This project is currently under construction and is scheduled to begin accepting residents in Spring 2011. The JBJSF partnered with Project H.O.M.E. and Bethesda Project to help build a LEED-Certified apartment building that will serve as housing for formerly homeless men and women. The new 63,000-square-foot, eight-story high-rise consists of 79 single-resident units, as well as a multi-purpose room, computer lab, exercise facility, offices for Project H.O.M.E. and Bethesda Project, kitchens and additional social service amenities.

To view photos from Jon’s visit, please click HERE

For more information on the Connelly House, HERE