Building Bridges provides a comfortable, respectful, and non-judgmental space for veterans to gather at free lunches at local veterans clubs and lodges. We partner with a host of veteran service providers, agencies, and independent nonprofits to collaboratively address the significant challenges facing US veterans. The Initiative offers a hot, nutritious weekly meal, camaraderie, and relevant programming on such issues as PTSD and its treatment, the acquisition of service dogs, and available Veterans Administration benefits. Indeed, Veteran Service Officers repeatedly remark that Building Bridges provides supportive venues to make accessible critical veterans services that they find difficult to deliver from their offices.
Building Bridges began in 2012 when Bishop Doug Fisher, then newly consecrated as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, identified American veterans as a critically under-served and tragically marginalized population that the church was being called to embrace. Recognizing the rampant problem of veteran homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, and the epidemic isolation that veterans face, Bishop Fisher pledged his commitment and significant resources to launch what would become the Building Bridges Veterans Initiative.