SOUL STORY

JBJ Soul Kitchen,

I began my journey of homelessness on December 2, 2019 when I was evicted from my home of 19 years by my ex-husband. The eviction was a surprise to me that morning as it was also to my sixteen year old son who was home at the time. I brought my son into school late that morning then attempted to figure out the first step that comes with the realization of being homeless. I was able to afford two nights at nearby hotels with money that I had available to me, however, it became very clear to me that I would not be able to afford nightly hotel rooms in addition to food, car, and other expenses. I spent a few nights in my car parked at the local Walmart in town. Very quickly I became dependent upon my faith in Jesus to guide me and lead me to move forward and to persevere during this difficult time in my life. I am very blessed to have a wonderful woman in my life, Lee, who is like a mother to me.

She herself has experienced homelessness and has also been instrumental in advising me with the steps to take in regaining and rebuilding my life. A few days later, while waiting to pick-up my son from the bus stop, my neighbor Bill told me about Code Blue and how the homeless are able to go there between the hours of 5pm and 8am for overnight housing and meals on specified nights when the weather drops below 32 degrees. Thankful for this resource, I was going to utilize this service, however, my cousin had contacted me prior to going there and offered for me to stay with him temporarily. Thankful that the Lord provided me with a different avenue for temporary housing, I then began to move forward and follow the steps to gaining a permanent residence for me and my two children.

Since this is the very first time I have ever experienced being homeless there is a lot to learn about the resources that are available to not only me but everyone in the community of Ocean County. I started off my next morning with a visit to the Ocean County Board of Social Services. There they were able to provide me with resources for shelters, food and housing. I was made aware of The People’s Pantry in Silverton, NJ from the resources they provided me. During my visit at the People’s Pantry, I came across the JBJ Soul Kitchen. The JBJ Soul Kitchen provides healthy, gourmet, five star meals to the homeless free of charge. Not only does the JBJ Soul Kitchen provide meals but it provides an atmosphere of community based dining during a time in many of the patrons lives where they are experiencing great hardship. At the JBJ Soul Kitchen, they encourage their patrons to dine with others in the community that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to fellowship with.

Personally I have found this establishment to be full of love, joy, peace and healing while enjoying a delicious meal in the comfort of others. There is a common bond within the JBJ Soul Kitchen that I believe is part of a spiritual awakening for our community. We as patrons are asked to participate in keeping the JBJ Soul Kitchen a success by volunteering our time to the restaurant in a variety of different ways. This allows us to contribute to the establishment in gratitude, appreciation and thanksgiving for what the JBJ Soul Kitchen represents, which is selfless giving of oneself without gain to meet the needs of others each and every time the doors open for service. The JBJ Soul Kitchen is open to the entire community, not solely to the homeless. There is a suggested price for those who are able to contribute monetarily which is greatly appreciated by all so that the JBJ Soul Kitchen will always have the means to serve our community. I am thankful for having the opportunity to meet Rob, Joanne and many others that are a part of the JBJ Soul Kitchen family.

In addition to the above mentioned communal resources and facilities, Allison and Rachael of Homes Now Inc., have been quite helpful in aiding in the search of an affordable housing apartment for myself and my two children. I am currently staying with Cookie a gracious woman from my church, Jesus is Lord, who is also like a mother to me and is allowing me to stay with her temporarily. I have also been blessed with the advice and assistance of Mark Lamela from Ocean Inc. Mark has graciously emailed me updates with regard to the availability of Code Blue over the past few months and has volunteered to advise me in the area of reestablishing my credit in the near future as I also underwent a finalization of a bankruptcy during this time. Michele from Fulfill has also been of great help to me with information on pursuing assistance with utilities, if necessary, in the near future and resources such as the utilization of a computer, copy machine and fax free of charge. Fulfill also provides a volunteer service through the Vita Program for tax preparation.

I couldn’t be more thankful for this journey that I am on toward a new life for my children and myself. Starting over in life can be a very difficult transition for many people. My faith and trust in the Lord has kept me steadfast in moving forward no matter what the day may bring. There have been many people that have come across my path these past few months who have shared testimonies of their life experiences with me that have made such a difference in strengthening my faith. The majority of these interactions have taken place at the JBJ Soul Kitchen and I am forever grateful for the development of the concept for this establishment.

I believe that the key is not to look back on things of the past, in every area of your life, but to move forward in great anticipation and hope of what blessings may be bestowed upon others for the courage to share your testimony.

Elizabeth

SOUL STORY

JBJ Soul Kitchen,

I began my journey of homelessness on December 2, 2019 when I was evicted from my home of 19 years by my ex-husband. The eviction was a surprise to me that morning as it was also to my sixteen year old son who was home at the time. I brought my son into school late that morning then attempted to figure out the first step that comes with the realization of being homeless. I was able to afford two nights at nearby hotels with money that I had available to me, however, it became very clear to me that I would not be able to afford nightly hotel rooms in addition to food, car, and other expenses. I spent a few nights in my car parked at the local Walmart in town. Very quickly I became dependent upon my faith in Jesus to guide me and lead me to move forward and to persevere during this difficult time in my life. I am very blessed to have a wonderful woman in my life, Lee, who is like a mother to me.

She herself has experienced homelessness and has also been instrumental in advising me with the steps to take in regaining and rebuilding my life. A few days later, while waiting to pick-up my son from the bus stop, my neighbor Bill told me about Code Blue and how the homeless are able to go there between the hours of 5pm and 8am for overnight housing and meals on specified nights when the weather drops below 32 degrees. Thankful for this resource, I was going to utilize this service, however, my cousin had contacted me prior to going there and offered for me to stay with him temporarily. Thankful that the Lord provided me with a different avenue for temporary housing, I then began to move forward and follow the steps to gaining a permanent residence for me and my two children.

Since this is the very first time I have ever experienced being homeless there is a lot to learn about the resources that are available to not only me but everyone in the community of Ocean County. I started off my next morning with a visit to the Ocean County Board of Social Services. There they were able to provide me with resources for shelters, food and housing. I was made aware of The People’s Pantry in Silverton, NJ from the resources they provided me. During my visit at the People’s Pantry, I came across the JBJ Soul Kitchen. The JBJ Soul Kitchen provides healthy, gourmet, five star meals to the homeless free of charge. Not only does the JBJ Soul Kitchen provide meals but it provides an atmosphere of community based dining during a time in many of the patrons lives where they are experiencing great hardship. At the JBJ Soul Kitchen, they encourage their patrons to dine with others in the community that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to fellowship with.

Personally I have found this establishment to be full of love, joy, peace and healing while enjoying a delicious meal in the comfort of others. There is a common bond within the JBJ Soul Kitchen that I believe is part of a spiritual awakening for our community. We as patrons are asked to participate in keeping the JBJ Soul Kitchen a success by volunteering our time to the restaurant in a variety of different ways. This allows us to contribute to the establishment in gratitude, appreciation and thanksgiving for what the JBJ Soul Kitchen represents, which is selfless giving of oneself without gain to meet the needs of others each and every time the doors open for service. The JBJ Soul Kitchen is open to the entire community, not solely to the homeless. There is a suggested price for those who are able to contribute monetarily which is greatly appreciated by all so that the JBJ Soul Kitchen will always have the means to serve our community. I am thankful for having the opportunity to meet Rob, Joanne and many others that are a part of the JBJ Soul Kitchen family.

In addition to the above mentioned communal resources and facilities, Allison and Rachael of Homes Now Inc., have been quite helpful in aiding in the search of an affordable housing apartment for myself and my two children. I am currently staying with Cookie a gracious woman from my church, Jesus is Lord, who is also like a mother to me and is allowing me to stay with her temporarily. I have also been blessed with the advice and assistance of Mark Lamela from Ocean Inc. Mark has graciously emailed me updates with regard to the availability of Code Blue over the past few months and has volunteered to advise me in the area of reestablishing my credit in the near future as I also underwent a finalization of a bankruptcy during this time. Michele from Fulfill has also been of great help to me with information on pursuing assistance with utilities, if necessary, in the near future and resources such as the utilization of a computer, copy machine and fax free of charge. Fulfill also provides a volunteer service through the Vita Program for tax preparation.

I couldn’t be more thankful for this journey that I am on toward a new life for my children and myself. Starting over in life can be a very difficult transition for many people. My faith and trust in the Lord has kept me steadfast in moving forward no matter what the day may bring. There have been many people that have come across my path these past few months who have shared testimonies of their life experiences with me that have made such a difference in strengthening my faith. The majority of these interactions have taken place at the JBJ Soul Kitchen and I am forever grateful for the development of the concept for this establishment.

I believe that the key is not to look back on things of the past, in every area of your life, but to move forward in great anticipation and hope of what blessings may be bestowed upon others for the courage to share your testimony.

Elizabeth

Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation

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