Sesame Street Muppet Pitches Government Dependence: Free Food at School

December 9, 2011 - 10:34 AM

(CNSNews.com) – A “food insecure” Muppet is helping to promote a national “Food for Thought” campaign that teaches poor families to seek out nutritious food and to eat on the taxpayers’ tab.

At the National Press Club on Thursday, Lily the Muppet – who worries about her family not having enough money to feed her properly -- pitched free food at school:

“Sometimes we can't always afford to buy all the food that we need,” Lily said. “I mean, but we've been finding lots of ways that we can get help...Yeah, for example, at school I get a free breakfast and a lunch...part of the meal plan."

Lily’s message is being circulated through schools, hospitals and food assistance programs as part of Sesame Street’s “Food for Thought” multi-media campaign, which includes DVDs and a booklet listing “services that can assist your family” as well as “referrals to social service agencies.”

Organizers say they have produced a million of the kits.

At the National Press Club on Thursday, the Rev. Douglas Greenaway of the National WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Association lauded Sesame Street’s ‘Food For Thought’ campaign – even linking it to federal deficit-reduction.

“What ‘Food For Thought’ does is remind people that eating healthy now gives them a good health outcome in the long term. So the folks you’re looking at up here, the programs that they represent, what ‘Food For Thought’ does is really a deficit reduction strategy, and we hope policymakers will take notice of that,” Greenaway said.

Greenaway didn't elaborate further on how this would work towards deficit reduction.

The Food for Thought Web site urges people to “feel good about food.”

“It is not easy to make healthy food choices when options are limited,” the Web site says. “But eating a healthy breakfast and snacking on fruits and vegetables are small changes you can make together as a family. Taking time to plan your meals before you shop and cook will help you stretch your dollar and serve healthy meals.”

Officials with Sesame Street say reaction to Lily and the Food for Thought program have been so strong they are looking to expand her message.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the TV show, announced on Thursday that it plans to appoint a Poverty Advisory Board in 2012. The first meeting will be in Washington on Jan. 10.