New Sesame Street Muppet Lives in Poverty

10-11-11

On Sunday the famed children’s TV show Sesame Street introduced audiences to it’s newest neighbourhood cast member, Lily.  What makes Lily special is that she is a child struggling with hunger because she lives in poverty.  She, like many other North American individuals and families, have been hit by the economic recession and find themselves at the food bank and receiving charity from community gardens.  Lily highlights the growing problem of hunger in Canada and the United States and reminds viewers that poverty is a problem for millions of children.

Sesame Street new muppet Lily lives in poverty

The special episode of Sesame Street was titled “Growing Hope Against Hunger” and also featured real stories of children struggling in poverty.  In Canada, 2010 saw a record number of food bank users – almost 900,000 Canadians, 38% of which are children and youth. Hunger is one of many issues that affects children living in poverty.  Alongside this problem are issues of poor health, poor concentration, and brain development.

CTV national news called Canada Without Poverty to comment on the new character and whether Lily’s story would be too difficult for young children to digest.  Megan Yarema, Director of Education & Outreach responded positively to Lily and was happy to see the issue of hunger being discussed at all age levels:

“Let’s get a little more awareness and understanding around what that actually means to be living in poverty,” she urged, adding that “there’s nothing wrong with being honest about what’s happening in your society, in your community.”

To read more and watch the video clip from Saturday’s national news broadcast, click here.