Dear Mr. and Mrs. Bon Jovi,
I am a homeless mother of two living in Seattle, Washington. I recently heard about your restaurant, the Soul Kitchen. I think the idea of a community restaurant that serves the less fortunate with dignity is an idea a long time in coming and I am so proud of you for making this a reality in New Jersey. Whenever I see celebrities “helping” the homeless, it’s usually a publicity stunt or photo op that does little if anything to help homeless people out of homelessness.
My kids and I have never been to a four star restaurant and even if I could afford to go, I would be uncomfortable in doing so simply because I would worry about how we would be treated. My kids are acutely aware of what it’s like to have others look down on us simply because we don’t have a home of our own. Your restaurant treats its patrons with dignity; something society seems to feel isn’t worth giving to the less fortunate.
The homeless population grows nationally and I have seen an explosion here as well. I may be homeless but that does not mean I’m helpless. I am active in helping homeless youth locally who have nowhere to go and no hope of seeing a better life. A restaurant like yours would be a blessing here. The kids I talk to go days without food because $200 a month in food stamps will only go so far. Food banks can be visited once a week if there’s enough food in the food banks to give out. Because of this, I ask members of the community to get involved directly. They can volunteer or share extra food with those who need it. Not only that, I’ve been handing out donated tents, sleeping bags, tarps and other camping gear to these kids to help them survive the coming winter. The need is great but due to these economic times, help is hard to come by.
Even though I’m working towards ending my own homelessness, I have realistic expectations that it will be awhile before I have my own place to live. In the meantime, I do what I can to educate others about homelessness and who the homeless are. I have my own blog at careyfuller.com and with it I show readers what it’s like to be homeless. I also let homeless youth tell their stories because the public needs to see the reality of homelessness. I also manage a page on Facebook called We Are Visible. We are a community of homeless folks giving each other support via social media. Mark Horvath of Invisible People Tv started this site to help the homeless have a voice. I met him when I used to blog for change.org and to my surprise, he handed the We Are Visible page over to me. It would be an honor if either of you would visit our page. I try to get guests to visit us for one hour Q&A sessions to talk about what they do to raise awareness on homelessness and how to get involved in the cause to end homelessness.
Little things mean a lot when you have nothing. For the kids out here (and adults) that listen to Bon Jovi’s music, imagine how much impact could be made in knowing that someone like Jon or Dorothea took the time to show that the homeless are not invisible to them! Maybe someday you’ll bring your community restaurant to Seattle, then again maybe this letter will never find its way to you but for the homeless youth I see almost every day, any effort I make for them is an effort worth making.
Kudos to you both for your compassion and your vision!