I’m always on the lookout for good news. I consider myself to be a pretty optimistic person, and I am fueled by ideas, people, organizations, songs, artwork, and (obviously) food that gives me hope. It is easy to feel like the world is crazier than ever, more negative than positive, and that we don’t have much to look forward to. However, I choose to believe the opposite. Despite the horrific suffering that exists in our world, I am so thankful for people who are working to make a difference — whether that is teachers right here in Chicago, organic farmers on the other side of the world, micro-financers that are providing funding for start up businesses in third world countries, or even the people who live in extreme poverty but are determined to find a way out and help their community along the way — all of those people inspire me.
I recently found out about an amazing restaurant in New Jersey that was founded by Bon Jovi, Soul Kitchen Community Restaurant. Soul Kitchen provides delicious meals for anyone — whether or not you have the money. They encourage people to volunteer their time in exchange for a meal voucher. The upscale cafe also appeals to folks with more than enough money for their meal (the suggested donation is $10 for a three course meal!), and people from all different walks of life are often seated together.
This community restaurant idea is so exciting to me for a variety of reasons:
- Food truly brings different types of people together.
- Everyone feels like they have earned their meal.
- Soul Kitchen grows a lot of their own ingredients, and other ingredients are locally sourced, so it truly is a community restaurant.
- Everyone who eats at Soul Kitchen experiences a nice meal out — not just a soup kitchen type of experience.
- Volunteers who are interested and committed can work their way up to full-time chefs, which could lead to a variety of work opportunities down the road.
I really love Soul Kitchen’s motto — Hope is delicious.
Here’s to making this world a little more hopeful!