In a clear sign of the times we live in, the upcoming season of the perennial PBS children’s program Sesame Street will include an impoverished Muppet named Lily. Sesame Street has put out the video included below on YouTube introducing the very purple puppet. In the clip Lily talks about how she and her family aren’t always sure where their next meal will come from. She also explains how she receives breakfast and lunch each school day through a free lunch program.
The brilliant team at the Sesame Workshop is using Lily to explain a very complex and heartbreaking problem to young children while showing ways they can help like volunteering for food pantries and donating food to those who may be less fortunate. Here’s more from Entertainment Weekly:
… Lily will be revealed in a one-hour Sesame Street primetime special, Growing Hope Against Hunger, which is being sponsored by Walmart. The special will star country singer Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams Paisley, as well as the Sesame Street Muppets.
“Food insecurity is a growing and difficult issue for adults to discuss, much less children,” said the Paisleys in a statement. “We are honored that Sesame Street, with its long history of tackling difficult issues with sensitivity, caring and warmth asked us to be a part of this important project.”
The special will share the stories of real-life families to raise awareness of hunger issues in the United States, as well as strategies that have helped these families find food. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 17 million American children — nearly 1 in 4 — have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious food. Walmart is sponsoring the show as part of a $1.5 million grant toward the initiative and holding screenings in select communities.
The special is set to air nationwide on Oct. 9.