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Penn College culinary alum feeds ‘souls’

“What I enjoy most out of life is giving back.” Pennsylvania College of Technology alumnus Robert E. Wood lives that credo daily as the executive chef at JBJ Soul Kitchen in Toms River, New Jersey. As part of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, JBJ Soul Kitchen is a nonprofit community restaurant that serves paying and in-need customers. Wood, who earned a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and systems, employs his skills to create three-course meals that feed stomachs and souls. “I love cooking. I love all that stuff. But being able to feed someone that really needs it, someone that really wants it, it goes a long way. You can actually see the difference you’re making in people’s lives.” As is readily apparent in a new video on the college’s YouTube channel, the 2017 Penn College graduate truly is a tomorrow maker.


Jeanne Kerschner,

Wow, what a wonderful idea. If I ever make it to Tom’s River, I hope to visit your establishment.

Ed Thompson,

Back in the mid-’70’s I used to eat in an establishment in Minneapolis – Mill City Restaurant – that worked on the same premise: Pay what you could afford, pay what you thought it was worth, work off the debt if unable to pay anything! I volunteered at the local food co-op, Mill City Foods – a grocery store-like affair – and would lend myself and my pickup truck to them for going after different products like 55-gallon drums of peanut butter or honey or bushels of potatoes or anything else they found available for the store. I had a regular job, but it didn’t pay so much, so helping them helped me out with meals and groceries for my house. This is an awesome thing to be able to do for people who have no way (or less of anything to help them make their way) to stay positive about life. I have never been to Toms River, but I hope the local officials understand what an establishment like this can do for a person who needs a hand up! Great job, JBJ and Mr Wood. God bless you, sir.

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