‘Sesame Street’ Addresses Child Hunger With New Muppet

Look out for ‘Growing Hope Against Hunger’ on PBS on October 9.

Lily, the new character appearing in Sesame Street’s upcoming one-hour special. (Photo: Sesame Workshop)

Oct 4, 2011
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

In an upcoming primetime special, Sesame Street will tackle childhood hunger with their new Muppet Lily.

Lily is seven years old, and as the show’s face of childhood hunger, she will bring attentnion to the pressing issue that currently affects one in five children in America. Not only is her character meant to raise awareness, but she also serves to help other kids struggling with food insecurity feel less alone.

The special, titled “Growing Hope Against Hunger,” will premiere on Sunday, October 9 at 7 p.m. on PBS.

At the start of the program, Lily will meet the Sesame friends, which includes celebrity couple Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams Paisley, at a community garden.

Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s senior vice president for outreach and educational practices, told The New York Times that when developing the character, they felt “it was best to have this new Muppet take this on in a positive way and a healthy way.”

Betancourt also said they wanted to make Lily’s character “realistic but empathetic to young viewers” through “her style of dress, her voice performance and even mannerisms, like her tendency to look down at her feet rather than make eye contact when she is speaking to other characters.”

Sesame Street has also recently launched Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget, a bilingual, multimedia program designed to help support families who have children between the ages of two and eight who are coping with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food.

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