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How the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building Continues to Serve the Community

PUBLISHED AUG 8, 2023 3:30 P.M.
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Vets Hall hosts free meals, classes, concerts, and more.

Vets Hall hosts free meals, classes, concerts, and more.   Eugene Zelenko   Creative Commons 4.0

Since its doors opened in 1932, in between two world wars, the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building has been a community hub for veterans and the groups that serve them. But over nine decades, it’s become much more—and that story is told by Good Times reporter Mat Weir in a piece titled “Call of Duty.”

Weir writes that Vets Hall, as it’s known, has been “a gathering place for veterans to get back on their feet, utilize resources or just have a good laugh with friends.” Every Wednesday, scores of veterans come for a free meal and bags of groceries. They also can get help from doctors and counselors, and connect with representatives from local service organizations and veterans groups.

But the impact that the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building staff has in Santa Cruz County extends into the broader community.

“The whole model of our nonprofit is using the Veterans Memorial Building to generate revenue and then turning around and using that profit to provide services for veterans in the area,” explains Executive Director Chris Cottingham.

Those profits come from concerts, classes and other events. The dance hall, originally built to showcase big bands and jazz, now hosts punk, metal and hip hop concerts. The community center offers recovery meetings and classes, from dance and yoga to fencing and meditation.

“Before I got here there were very few community events,” Building Manager David Pedley says of the SCCVMB’s weekly calendar. “Now the calendar is packed every day, barring Monday nights because nobody wants to do anything on Monday nights, which is fair.”

The article titled “Call of Duty” appeared first on

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