COLLABORATION

JBJ Soul Kitchen opens first on-campus outlet at Rutgers University

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Rutgers University in Newark is taking an innovative approach to tackle the issue of food insecurity impacting one in three of its students attending the school by opening the first JBJ Soul Kitchen on a college campus.

Rutgers University’s school food service provider, Gourmet Dining partners with JBJ Soul Foundation to launch the first on-campus JBJ Soul Kitchen, in an approach to address food insecurity among students.

Food insecurity currently impacts one in three students attending Rutgers University, Newark. Hence, the campus community at the university is taking an innovative approach to tackle this issue by opening the first JBJ Soul Kitchen on a college campus.

Rutgers University Chancellor, Nancy Cantor adds that this partnership with the JBJ Soul Foundation and Gourmet Dining takes the university’s collective action on food insecurity to a whole new level.

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The JBJ Soul Kitchen serves meals to students, faculty and community members who have the ability to pay, in addition to supplying meals for students in need.

With this new eatery,  students who are unable to pay for food will be able to have a meal without having to worry about the check.

Servers at the Soul Kitchen will not know which patrons paid for their meals, as this helps to end the stigma surrounding food insecurity.

Students are also given the opportunity to volunteer their time by participating in various activities around the restaurant or in other campus dining locations to cover the cost of their meal.

Board Chairman of JBJ Soul Foundation, Jon Bon Jovi said, “Food insecurity is one of the most critical issues college students face today,”

He added, “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.”

This partnership is one of the many initiatives Rutgers University has implemented in addressing the challenges of food insecurity.

The university’s comprehensive approach includes opening a food pantry, organising a care team, and working with student organisations dedicated to fighting hunger on campus.

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President of Gourment Dining, Michael Frungillo stated that this venture stems from a mission to make a difference that was triggered when he noticed a long line of students waiting to visit the food pantry.

Frungillo said, “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.”

He added that realising there was a successful model and a great champion in tackling food insecurity issues in New Jersey, they soon approached Jon and Dorothea and the JBJ Soul Kitchen.

Frungillo believes that this partnership will carry this joint-mission forward with all the right ingredients to really make a difference.