Monthly Archives: September 2020


JBJ Soul Foundation & HABCore Celebrate Expansion Grand Opening On River Street In Red Bank

Red Bank, N.J. – On Tuesday, September 29, 2020 HABcore celebrated the grand opening of its 4-unit expansion project on River Street in Red Bank. This project was funded through donations by generous community individuals as well as New Jersey Natural Gas, the Lydia Collins deForest Charitable Trust, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ National Housing Trust Fund, and the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation.

HABcore is a nonprofit organization in Red Bank, NJ serving Monmouth and Ocean counties whose mission is to provide permanent housing and individualized support, helping homeless families, veterans, and individuals with special needs move through crisis to stability, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives.

This is the first time the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation has donated to help house the homeless in Monmouth County. “JBJ Soul Foundation is thrilled to partner with HABcore and other local organizations to see the River Street project come to fruition,” said Jon Bon Jovi, Board Chairman of the JBJ Soul Foundation. “Affordable and permanent housing continues to be scarce for many homeless individuals and families in Monmouth and Ocean counties, particularly during these challenging times. We remain committed to our mission of helping those in need in Red Bank and surrounding communities—whether a place to call home on River Street, a warm, healthy, and delicious meal at JBJ Soul Kitchen, or access to support services and community resources at the JBJ & PBC Hope & Comfort Warming Center. All of which are within walking distance to one another.”

In 1988 HABcore was formed to house the homeless when three Red Bank men froze to death on the streets of Red Bank during a harsh winter. The agency was named HABcore in the memory of those men whose initials began with H, A, and B. Over the past 31 years HABcore has continued to meet the needs of the previously homeless in both congregate and independent living settings. HABcore now has 300 residents living across Monmouth and Ocean counties including 60 families with 100 children. Residents represent a formerly homeless population of very-low-income families, veterans, and individuals with special needs. HABcore’s goal is to grow continuously to meet the needs of the 665 estimated homeless in the Monmouth-Ocean region.

“We are excited to open more possibilities for individuals who have a low income in this affluent area who have special needs, to have a beautiful home.  We are always looking to provide new housing for those less fortunate of our community while improving support and offering new avenues of independence.” said Steve Heisman, Executive Director. 

As part of HABcore’s Independence Pathways Program, the residents will receive supportive services, such as training in job acquisition skills and financial literacy. Approved unanimously by the Red Bank Zoning Board of Adjustment, the project containing a first-floor unit which is wheelchair accessible with a motorized lift. A laundry room has been added in a breezeway connecting the older structure with the new addition, and a fire suppression system has been installed to serve both structures. All construction is energy efficient.

Inside one of the 4 new apartments on River Street
Inside one of the 4 new apartments on River Street

Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation Fulfills Pledge to Feed Families During COVID-19 Pandemic, Ends Food Distribution Program in Long Island

Dorothea and Jon Bon Jovi at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank

JBJ Soul Foundation has ended its food distribution program, the JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank, effective September 15, 2020, successfully fulfilling the non-profit organization’s pledge to serve communities across the East End of Long Island.

Opened in May, the Food Bank distributed 447,225 lb. (238 tons) of healthy shelf-stable foods, fruit, vegetables, and pre-made frozen meals over 18 weeks, averaging 25,000 lb. per week. JBJ Soul Foundation thanks the Rubenstein Family for their generosity and support of the program.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, food pantries on the East End were experiencing significant food supply shortages. Pantries saw a 200% – 500% increase in food requests from individuals and families in the area. In response, the Foundation pledged to purchase and distribute food to eight pantries, serving over 5,000 people per month for four months. At one food pantry in the Springs community, the Food Bank fed over 10,705 residents, more than the total number it served in 2019.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to meet and work with the pantries we were able to serve,” said Dorothea Bongiovi, Founder / Program Director, JBJ Soul Kitchen. “Their commitment to their communities was inspiring and humbling. We saw volunteers packing bags during a power outage and distributing food under a tent in 90 degrees while churches, classrooms, and extra space turned into food storage and distribution centers. We saw what was possible when we care for each other, and we are proud to be a small part of that.” 

If you are interested in helping in-need families on the East End, please contact the following food pantries: