Volunteer

Feeding Your Soul

I never understood the appreciation that students always seem to have for free food, until this term, living away from home. When I’m really hungry, it’s pretty difficult to focus on anything else. To get a satisfying meal for free just makes it that much better. Some may say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but there is at Soul Kitchen!

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Singer and restaurant founder Jon Bon Jovi inside Soul Kitchen.

It’s a communal restaurant founded by musician Jon Bon Jovi. There are no prices on the menu instead guests are encouraged to give what they can – whether in money or time. Volunteers get a nutritious meal and gain employable skills by trained staff that they may not have had before.

Some volunteer out of the goodness of their hearts, some volunteer because they have more time than money. The restaurant understands the financial struggle that many people go through and will therefore give priority to volunteers who are only able to pay with their time.

Community is another priority at Soul Kitchen. Guests are encouraged to share their meal with another customer whom they may have never met before to discuss the initiatives of the kitchen, the community and establish stronger relationships.

The restaurant uses fresh, local ingredients in their dishes. They have their own garden vegetable from which everything is organic. Their meals are three course containing an appetizer, main dish and a baked dessert as well as offering vegetarian options.

The restaurant is evidently a not-for-profit, therefore the people that are there are so because they want to be. Each dish is made with care and customers are treated like friends.

Soul Kitchen is a good example of development work. Development is complex but one step at a time is a good start. On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs food is the first one. Not only does Soul Kitchen take care of that but also provides customers with a sense of community and relationship – the third need on the hierarchy. Development is also about people. Listening to their stories, their needs and meeting them where they are. When the little things are taken care of, the larger issues seem more approachable.

Food is a psychological experience as much as a physical one, as Soul Kitchen believes: “a healthy meal can feed the soul.”

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