Find out how you can help and why it’s important
that we have more heads and minds helping with this cause.
Why we need more hands on deck
While it is impossible to put a price tag on military service—to quantify the value of those who risked their lives for us all—we nonetheless must recognize the cost of their sacrifice in order to know what they’re up against, and be mobilized to help.
Depression & Isolation
Far beyond meals, Building Bridges’ mission is to address depression, social isolation and suicide risk by creating communities of peer support that combat these pervasive conditions.
According to the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, “Loneliness is highly prevalent in U.S. military veterans, with more than half endorsing feeling lonely sometimes or often.
Loneliness severity was independently associated with a broad range of mental and physical health and functional measures, as well as suicidal ideation.
Results underscore the importance of loneliness as a transdiagnostic prevention and intervention target in the U.S. veteran population.”
A Daily Loss of Life
It should be noted that while Building Bridges communities are open to all, Vietnam veterans are currently in the majority.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 70 percent of all veterans who commit suicide are age 50 or older—double the suicide rate for the same age group in the nonveteran community.
The VA estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide every day, more than half of whom are at least 50 years old. As Building Bridges is pivoting toward younger military veterans, it continues to strive to meet the needs of older veterans who have been left behind.
In the words of Jonathan Shay, author of “Achilles in Vietnam”—who identified “moral injury” as a haunting veteran condition—”Despair, this word that’s so hard to get our arms around. It’s despair that rips people apart (to) feel they’ve become irredeemable.” The heart of Building Bridges is to bring veterans back together, to realize their sacrifice was also a gift
The good news is, veteran poverty is less than in the general population. Veteran homelessness has declined by more than 50% since 2010. And since 2020, veteran homelessness has declined by 11%.
The bad news is that veteran poverty is rapidly on the rise. The risk of food insecurity is more than 7% higher among veterans between the ages of 18 and 64. 1.2 million veterans are currently on food stamps, and one in nine people living on the street is a veteran.
How you can help
We currently have people helping in several ways:
- as volunteers to help serve meals
- As champions, in charge of locations where meals are served
- helping to raise funds for Building Bridges
- many other ways.
You can volunteer to help in any of these, or other ways and you can make a donation to help us continue this work.