This mural shows a community helping people in need. Stephen Cornelius Roberts, the artist who painted it, said, "The Poverty mural honors volunteers and social workers who provide meals to men, women and children."
Roberts chose to use actors as his models for the images of people in need in the soup kitchen. He didn’t want to use people who really were in that situation because he didn’t want to take advantage of those less fortunate.
This scene honors all kinds of heroic service that citizens take on in a community. Some help poor and oppressedUnjustly treated. people. Some work to provide shelter and resources to people who have lost their homes. Some take in abandonedDeserted or left behind. children. Some shelter people struggling with mental illness. Some work to help all citizens gain access to opportunity.
The needs change, but the value of this type of citizen service doesn't.
Often it's offered outside the government, through private charitable groups. The people who volunteer and donate in this way help fill gaps between the needs of others and the resources of government.
In the 1860's, Nebraska was a place where immigrants came hoping to make their fortunes. Many brought tools and resources and tried to make their way independently.
By the 1970's, Nebraska was welcoming immigrants who had no choice about coming here. They left behind homes in war-torn Vietnam and came to start a new life. Catholic Social Services, a church organization, helped them start over and eventually resettle.
In the year 2000, refugeesPeople who are escaping from trouble or danger in their old country and now must find a new country in which to live. were still coming to Nebraska from countries like Bosnia where the American military was at work to achieve peace. Volunteer groups were providing support such as English language tutoring, emergency food, low cost housing, donated clothing, and protection for rights within the system.
By 2016, Lincoln was still a destination for refugees, including Yazidi people fleeing oppression and terror in Iraq.
Volunteers also work directly with Nebraska citizens to meet needs. In the year 2000, the economy of Nebraska was thriving in some areas but challenged in others. Volunteers continued to help share resources through soup kitchens, shelters, and many other programs.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT . . .
What do citizens do to help your community?