This Sunday, PBS will debut “Growing Hope Against Hunger, a Sesame Street special which addresses the plight of the 17-million American children who are “food insecure”, the Department of Agriculture’s term for those who have limited or uncertain access to regular meals.
Lily, a shy 7-year-old muppet, will visit the iconic Sesame Street world to discuss the plight of hunger with famed characters such as Elmo, Bert and Grover. In an interview with the New York Times, Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop’s senior vice president for outreach and educational practices, explained that great pains were taken to make the character palatable to young viewers. “We thought long and hard about how do we really represent (hunger) from a child’s point of view. We felt it was best to have this new Muppet take this on in a positive and healthy way…She wants to talk about this topic, because she knows it will help many other families and children but it isn’t an easy topic to talk about in the first place.” Lily, who is not scheduled to appear in future episodes at this point, will address a crowd at a community garden in the special, which also features celebrity guests Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams Paisley.
According to the NYT, previous Sesame Street specials have dealt with economic insecurity and military families.