THE ALBUM IS DONE!
Left to Right - Hugh McDonald, David Bryan, Tico Torres, John Shanks producer, Jon Bon Jovi, Phil X.
Photo by David Bergman
By WAYNE PARRY, ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOMS RIVER, NJ — May 10, 2016, 7:10 PM ET
Jon Bon Jovi knows he can’t help society by curing cancer or splitting atoms. But he can use his celebrity to command the attention of millions of people, including some of the wealthiest and most powerful.
The Sayreville, New Jersey-born rocker and his wife, Dorothea Bongiovi, are joining with local charities and wealthy fellow philanthropists to tackle hunger and poverty in a shore town that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
He and his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation held a grand opening Tuesday for the B.E.A.T. Center, which stands for Bringing Everyone All Together. The center includes the second JBJ Soul Kitchen restaurant, where those in need can do volunteer work for their meals, and paying customers donate toward the cost of the volunteers’ food by purchasing a “Pay It Forward” certificate. The first one opened in Red Bank in 2011.
The center in Toms River is designed as a one-stop facility to help people apply for nutritional assistance benefits and health care, and get culinary-related job training.
The singer best known for rock anthems like “Livin’ On A Prayer,” “You Give Love A Bad Name" and “Wanted Dead Or Alive” said hunger is something he can actually do something about.
“We didn’t need scientists to find a cure,” he said. “There are so many wonderful causes and so many passionate people that are addressing them. We have been inspired by so many of our in-need neighbors who have come seeking help.”
He and several others active with the center said one of its main goals is not just to feed the lines at food pantries but also to permanently shorten them.
“We serve people with dignity,” added his wife, Dorothea. “You get great food and volunteer for the meal, and we ask our paying customers to pay it forward and pay for the volunteers’ meals. That’s part of our sustainability model.”
Bon Jovi said many area residents are still recovering from Sandy and don’t have enough nutritious food to eat. But he said the need predated the storm in Ocean County, where one in five residents is low-income or lives in poverty.
“This is happening across our nation,” he said. “When there’s 15 percent of children going to be hungry at night in a nation like ours, that’s not an issue it takes a scientist to solve.”
Toms River was one of the hardest-hit communities during Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, 2012. The nearby Ortley Beach section was devastated, and many homes and businesses still have not been rebuilt as the fourth summer after the storm approaches.
Bon Jovi is partnering with the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, The Peoples Pantry and the David Tepper Charitable Foundation to provide $5 million in services to needy families in the B.E.A.T. Center’s first year of operation.
The center joins other charitable endeavors undertaken by Bon Jovi, including the construction of 440 units of affordable housing for homeless or low-income families and donations to numerous Sandy relief efforts.
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Help make The B.E.A.T. Center (Bringing Everyone All Together) a reality and join the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and Peoples Pantry, as we continue helping families of New Jersey combat the issues of food insecurity.
Today we announced the launch of THE BEAT CENTER OCEANFIRST MATCH CAMPAIGN – Bringing Everyone All Together to Fight Hunger. Individual and team incentives include a chance to have your name included in a logo at The B.E.A.T. Center as well as a digital copy sent to your home, and for donations of $10,000 or more—an invitation to attend a VIP reception with Jon Bon Jovi and partners at The B.E.A.T. Center grand opening in Toms River, N.J. Additional local incentives will be announced on the campaign page.
The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and Peoples Pantry (Inspire NJ) joined forces last April to form The B.E.A.T. Center. The B.E.A.T. Center is a community hub where families and individuals in need can access food, job training, and resources to end the cyclical causes of hunger in New Jersey. The “one-stop shop” will serve as a FoodBank satellite location that includes a food distribution center, commercial kitchen, culinary skills training program and community resource center, as well as the permanent home of Peoples Pantry, and a second location of JBJ Soul Kitchen.
Ocean County is New Jersey’s fastest growing county and was “ground zero” for Hurricane Sandy. According to FEMA, over 40,000 structures in the county were damaged or destroyed in the storm – 55% of the state’s total. The creation of The B.E.A.T. Center is in response to the reality that today, more than three years after the storm, there are thousands of families who are still struggling to regain housing, financial stability and to overcome food insecurity—and they are turning to local agencies in record numbers for assistance. The impact of this collaboration is projected to provide $5 million in support to families in need in its first year.
The donation & fundraising campaign will run from March 30th to April 26th for the Grand Prize, and will continue with incentives through the Grand Opening of the facility. For those who don’t reach the top goals, there are still plenty of local and global gift incentives throughout the campaign.
To join the campaign, and start fundraising, please visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/beat-center-oceanfirst-match-campaign
*About the OceanFirst Foundation Match:
A generous grant from the OceanFirst Foundation is helping to make The B.E.A.T. Center a reality. OceanFirst will match dollar for dollar up to $100,000 and every dollar donated goes directly to The B.E.A.T. Center.