Muppet Lily is face of povertyNot since the cute, yellow HIV-positive Muppet premiered in 2009 on Sesame Street in South Africa has a new character from the Workshop taken such a lead role in educating kids about a societal woe.

The furry 7-year-old girl named Lily, will appear first tonight on an hour-long PBS special to raise awareness of the issue of hunger in America. Growing Hope Against Hunger, produced by Sesame Workshop, will star Brad Paisley and the Muppet gang and air nationwide at 7:00 PM ET/ PT.

The TV special presents Lily’s family as one that deals with hunger but also grows stronger in the process. Lily organizes a food drive for the pantry after it provides them with groceries.

Other scenes in the show dramatize a community that arranges for struggling families to get unlimited  fresh produce; a 10-year-old girl who collects food from high-end restaurants for an urban “food desert”; and a family that uses food assistance (WIC and SNAP) when the mother trains for a culinary job — a program that ultimately led them out of poverty. These stories mirror some of the things shown happening on Sesame Street: food drives, a community garden, and neighbors who help neighbors.

“Food insecurity is a growing and difficult issue for adults to discuss, much less children,” said Brad and Kimberly Paisley. “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. We hope that it will not only provide families with the tools they need to help them cope and live the healthiest life possible, but will educate the general population about the extent of food insecurity and hunger in the United States.”

A $1.5 million grant from Walmart funded Growing Hope Against Hunger along with a “Food for Thought” distribution of 35,000 resource kits. 15 screenings will be hosted in select Walmart communities as part of the company’s Foundation, which pledged a historic $2 billion to fight hunger in the US.

(WATCH a 3 min. clip below from Sesame Workshop – READ more in CNN)

Thanks to Steve G. for submitting the link!

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