Category Archives: Hunger Projects


Meals Purchased in Monmouth County Near 20,000 as FeedNJ Program Becomes a Community Staple

JBJ Soul Kitchen provides over 6,000 meals to the FeedNJ Program.

NEW JERSEY—Many more New Jerseysans are experiencing food insecurity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but receiving free food from soup kitchens and community giveaways feels different when that food comes from a beloved community restaurant. FeedNJ, the flagship program operated by nonprofit Soup Kitchen 411, has brought smiles to people experiencing food insecurity, relief for overworked soup kitchen crews, and critical business to beloved local restaurants. To date, the program has bought and served nearly 20,000 meals in and from Monmouth County, with a mandate to exceed 30,000 by Thanksgiving. 

“I first became involved with Soup Kitchen 411’s FeedNJ program last Spring to make sure local restaurants got much-needed business, and I could not be more thrilled with the economic impact it has had in Monmouth County,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “In particular, the program has purchased over 10,000 meals combined from JBJ Soul Kitchen and No Limits Cafe, which have a ‘Pay it Forward’ model and employ people with intellectual disabilities, respectively. These are not just beloved restaurants with great food, but with socially-conscious missions.”

As New Jersey prepares for vaccine passports to roll out, restaurant owners express their relief at the regularity of large quantities of meals purchased from Soup Kitchen 411.

“JBJ Soul Kitchen is a community restaurant that serves an in-need and paying customer. Our unique “Pay it Forward” model allows diners, who are able to donate, to cover the cost of those in need who have volunteered for their meals. Meals purchased by Soup Kitchen’s FeedNJ program at retail price enable us to continue to generate revenue while donating more meals to those in need,” said Dorothea Bongiovi, founder of JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank and Toms River. 

Of the meals served in Monmouth County, over 6,000 have come from JBJ Soul Kitchen, including 5,600 purchased in the past six months through the state EDA’s Sustain and Serve NJ grant. During this grant period, 3,525 meals have come from No Limits Cafe, a lunch cafe employing people with intellectual disabilities. 

Over 50 soup kitchens, food pantries, houses of worship, local nonprofits, community outreach groups and municipal health departments have worked with Soup Kitchen 411 to distribute meals to the community. Almost a dozen local PBAs and Police Departments joined in the fight in July.

If you’d like to learn more about the FeedNJ initiative and volunteer in the fight against hunger, please visit https://Soup Kitchen



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: 


JBJ Soul Foundation Supports Partner Organizations Stepping Up To Feed Philadelphians Experiencing Homelessness During Crisis

Step Up to the Plate is a city-wide initiative to feed and provide health services to individuals experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic. JBJ Soul Foundation is proud to support and partner with Step Up to the Plate by providing a $100,000 grant to help fund this cause.

“JBJ Soul Foundation remains committed to helping the homeless community in Philadelphia,” said Craig A. Spencer, Vice-Chairman, JBJ Soul Foundation. “Our partnership with Step Up to the Plate, along with many other companies and organizations in this great city, will provide in-need individuals and families access to basic necessities during this unprecedented time including food, medical care, personal hygiene stations and COVID-19 resources and support.”

If you would like to make a donation to Step Up to the Plate, click HERE

PHILADELPHIA – April 16, 2020 – There is a crisis of hunger in our city. The impact that COVID-19 is having on our most vulnerable neighbors, individuals experiencing homelessness, is seen in the ever-increasing numbers of people needing access to food and medical care throughout Philadelphia. It has become clear to the City of Philadelphia, and to many of the organizations serving this population, that a larger and more coordinated effort is necessary to address this growing need and continue providing food and services in a healthy and safe environment.

Step Up to the Plate, a collaborative effort of Broad Street Ministry, Project HOME, and Prevention Point Philadelphia, is a central part of the City’s efforts to address this challenge. These organizations are working closely with the Office of Homeless Services to secure two large outdoor sites, allowing meal services to continue while maintaining appropriate social distancing guidelines. These sites are the North Apron of City Hall (located near Project HOME’s Hub of Hope outdoor medical clinic), and an outdoor lot at the intersection of East Clearfield and Ruth Streets in Kensington, near Prevention Point Philadelphia. 

Three local catering companies – Catering by Design, 12th Street Catering, and Herb Scott Catering – will provide meals at cost. By collaborating with catering companies, Step Up to the Plate allows its partners to turn their focus towards staffing, logistical, and care concerns for their guests. The current projection is to serve 1,000 takeaway packaged meals per day (each package containing lunch and dinner, for a total of 2,000 meals provided per day) and to be operational by the end of the week of April 13.

In addition, Wawa has agreed to donate 1,400 meals a week to St. Johns Hospice and Face to Face shelter partners, equating to a total of nearly 10,000 meals during the seven-week initiative.

“It is critically important for the nonprofit, government, philanthropic, and private sectors to be coming together at this moment to address the needs of our neighbors struggling with deep poverty, homelessness, and hunger,” said Mike Dahl, Executive Director of Broad Street Ministry. “The Step Up to the Plate campaign represents the very best of what we can accomplish as the City of Brotherly Love. Broad Street Ministry is proud and humbled to be standing shoulder to shoulder with all of our partners in this effort and we look forward to inviting many others to join us.”

“When a moment like this happens, it’s so important that we all come together to find a solution for those in need,” says Sister Mary Scullion, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Project HOME. “We’re honored to be working with Broad Street Ministry, Prevention Point, Mural Arts, and other partners to coordinate getting food and medical care, at this critical time, to our brothers and sisters on our city’s streets.”

“In this extraordinary time, Prevention Point Philadelphia is pleased to further extend its reach in the community of Kensington to help feed hundreds of people a day through the Step Up to the Plate initiative,” said Jose Benetiz, Executive Director of Prevention Point Philadelphia. “We are so grateful for the partnership of so many organizations and companies, along with the City of Philadelphia, to make an extraordinary difference in our community.”

At the City Hall site, the food distribution will be provided by Broad Street Ministry staff. In Kensington, food distribution will be provided by Prevention Point Philadelphia staff and volunteers. At both sites, COVID-19-related health care services and resources will be available for those experiencing homelessness. In Center City, Project HOME’s Hub of Hope staff will provide services. In Kensington, services will be provided by Prevention Point Philadelphia with assistance from Philadelphia FIGHT.

Mural Arts Philadelphia will provide beautifully designed vinyl Space Pads for the ground to encourage safe distancing during service, along with banners and other public signage. Each Space Pad has been designed by one of four different Mural Arts artists and combines beauty with helpful public health facts related to COVID-19. Over 700 14” x 14” outdoor vinyl decals were installed for just the Center City site. More will be added in Kensington. 

Step Up to the Plate is a partnership of Broad Street Ministry, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Project HOME, and the City of Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services. Catering partners are Catering by Design, 12th Street Catering, Herb Scott Catering, and The Wawa Foundation. Additional partners are Mural Arts Philadelphia, Muslims Serve, and Center City District. Funding for Step Up to the Plate is provided by Connelly Foundation, The Daniel B. and Florence E. Green Foundation, Haas Charitable Trust, Hummingbird Foundation, Independence Foundation, JBJ Soul Foundation, Philadelphia Health Partnership, Philadelphia Foundation, the PHL COVID-19 Fund, and William Penn Foundation.

Broad Street Ministry is a broad-minded faith community with an aspiration to create a more just world through civic engagement. Project HOME empowers individuals to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through affordable housing, employment, health care, and education. Prevention Point Philadelphia is a non-profit public health and social services organization that works to reduce the harms associated with drug use. By working together, in concert with City of Philadelphia leadership, these organizations believe they can provide a higher level of necessary service to our city’s most vulnerable citizens and increase the likelihood of effective social distancing. To get involved with Step Up to the Plate, reach out to



Campus Foodservice Provider, Gourmet Dining, Introduces “Pay It Forward” Community Restaurant as Innovative Approach to Addressing Student Food Insecurity

Pictured (L-R): Nancy Cantor, Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark;
Phil Murphy, Governor, New Jersey; Tammy Murphy; First Lady of New Jersey;
Dorothea Bongiovi, Jon Bon Jovi; Michael Frungillo, President, Gourmet Dining 

Newark, N.J. – January 22, 2020 – It’s hard to believe, but one in three students attending a four-year college struggle with the issue of food insecurity. At Rutgers University – Newark (RU-N), where more than 50 percent of students have exceptional financial need, the campus community is taking an innovative approach to address the issue by opening the first JBJ Soul Kitchen on a college campus in partnership with the school’s food service provider, Gourmet Dining. The JBJ Soul Kitchen serves healthy, delicious meals to students, faculty and community members who have the ability to pay, in addition to students who are in need.

“Food insecurity is one of the most critical issues college students face today,” said Jon Bon Jovi, Board Chairman, JBJ Soul Foundation. “We applaud Gourmet Dining and Rutgers University-Newark who have made tackling this issue a priority so that students always have a place to go for a great-tasting, healthy meal. We couldn’t have found a better place to open our third JBJ Soul Kitchen location and truly believe that when students are supported with basic needs and backed by their community, they can and will go on to do amazing things.”

Rutgers University – Newark has long been at the forefront of addressing the issue of student food insecurity and has taken a comprehensive approach to open a food pantry, organize a care team and work with student organizations dedicated to fighting hunger on campus. Introducing the JBJ Soul Kitchen at RU-N provides even greater opportunities for the entire campus community to come together and educate and assist one another to solve this problem.

“Our new partnership with the JBJ Soul Foundation and Gourmet Dining to open JBJ Soul Kitchen—the first on a college campus—takes our collective action on food insecurity to a whole new level,” said Rutgers University – Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor.  “This is the kind of action that I think the late great Newark Rabbi Joachim Prinz had in mind when he spoke at the March on Washington just before Dr. King in 1963 and said: ‘Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of human dignity and integrity.’ For us at Rutgers-Newark, that is what it means to be an anchor institution.”

At JBJ Soul Kitchen RU-N, students, faculty and community members are invited to dine and pay-it-forward by making a minimum donation of $12 or using a donated meal plan “swipe”. Students may also volunteer their time by participating in various activities around the restaurant or in other campus dining locations to cover the cost of their meal.

“What makes the JBJ Soul Kitchen model special is that it’s designed so that everyone can enjoy a healthy, delicious meal and dine with dignity – whether you’re hungry or hungry to make a difference,” added Dorothea Bongiovi, Founder, JBJ Soul Kitchen.

No matter the individual’s socioeconomic situation, everyone who dines at the JBJ Soul Kitchen will enjoy the same chef-created, three-course meal. Every week the menu changes with a variety of options for appetizers, main courses and desserts. Some of the menus will feature a Soul Spiced BBQ Pulled Beef, a Coffee and Soul Spiced Short Rib, and Maple Roasted Chicken. All meat served is certified Halal, Kosher is available upon request, and there are always vegan and gluten-free options, along with delicious desserts.

“As a campus dining service, everything we do is focused on meeting the ever-changing dining needs of our students and know that great meals are a part of their success. One day, after seeing a long line of students waiting to visit the food pantry, I knew we needed to do something more to help them focus on being students – and not worry about where their next meal is coming from,” said Michael Frungillo, President, Gourmet Dining. “Understanding there was a successful model and a great champion essentially in our own backyard in New Jersey, we soon approached Jon and Dorothea and the JBJ Soul Kitchen. We’re honored to carry their mission forward and know we have all the right ingredients to make a difference.”

Beginning on Thursday January 23, the JBJ Soul Kitchen RU-N will be open for lunch from 11:30am-1:30pm ET Monday-Friday. It is located on the second floor of the Paul Robeson Campus Center at 350 Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Blvd. in Newark, N.J.

Individuals interested in making a contribution to the JBJ Soul Kitchen can visit


JBJ Soul Kitchen, Murphy Family Foundation, Announces Ongoing Partnership

Furloughed federal workers can receive a free meal at either JBJ Soul Kitchen location throughout the shutdown

Due to the tremendous demand demonstrated by participation in this week’s events, The Philip and Tammy Murphy Family Foundation is announcing that they will continue their partnership with JBJ Soul Kitchen on an ongoing basis. Starting today, any furloughed federal employee may receive a free meal at either Toms River or Red Bank JBJ Soul Kitchen location during their regular service hours throughout the government shutdown.

The JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank can be found at 207 Monmouth Street, just one block from the Red Bank train station. The JBJ Soul Kitchen’s Toms River location can be found at 1769 Hooper Avenue. Those wishing to participate should bring proof of federal employment.