TOMS RIVER - Famed New Jersey rock star Jon Bon Jovi and local charities have opened a hunger center to help people in need in a Jersey Shore town that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
Bon Jovi and his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation held a grand opening Tuesday for the B.E.A.T. Center, which stands for Bringing Everyone All Together. The center in Toms River is designed as a one-stop facility to help people get food stamps, health care and culinary-related job training. It also provides meals for at-risk children and seniors.
"The need for people to make ends meet…was already here,” Bon Jovi said. “This just exacerbated it."
The center will house a second JBJ Soul Kitchen community restaurant, where diners pay a minimum $10 donation or do volunteer work for their meals.
Bon Jovi says many area residents are still recovering from Sandy and don't have enough nutritious food to eat.
Toms River mayor Thomas Kelaher says despite the destruction left in the wake of Sandy, the storm opened the eyes of the community.
"Superstorm Sandy did one thing. It made us aware of the fact there's a definite need for people who absolutely need the help of a pantry or a facility like the B.E.A.T. center,” the mayor says.
The center is now open to the public and is located at 1769 Hooper Ave. in Toms River.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.