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Local Event on October 14 Provides Families Opportunity to Watch Muppet Special Dealing with Hunger in America And Receive Free Resources


Local Event on October 14 Provides Families Opportunity to Watch Muppet Special Dealing
with Hunger in America And Receive Free Resources

(Pittsburgh, PA) – Recently Sesame Street and its iconic Muppets took on the issue of hunger through a PBS primetime television special called Growing Hope Against Hunger. Now Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, and Walmart are holding a community screening in Pittsburgh to showcase the program and provide educational opportunities for families around the issue of hunger in America. The special, made possible by the generous support of Walmart, presents families’ personal stories to raise awareness of the widespread issue of hunger in the United States, as well as strategies that have helped these families find resources and grow stronger together. Growing Hope Against Hunger also introduces a new Muppet named Lily whose family has an ongoing struggle with hunger. In advance of a summit for Let’s Move Pittsburgh, WQED is partnering with the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden to shine a light on health and wellness for young children. The free public screening will take place in Botany Hall at 11:00 on October 14, 2011 followed by a brief discussion. Sesame’s Food For Thought kits, which deal with healthy food recipes and eating on a budget, will be distributed for free while supplies last at Phipps Conservatory and are available from the education department at WQED.

”Sesame Street has always been on the leading edge of social and emotional wellness for children. With their recent specials, Sesame is providing local PBS stations like WQED with the ability to raise awareness and talk to their community about tough issues, including the rising issue of food insecurity, “says Jennifer Stancil, Executive Director of Educational Partnerships. WQED is one of a select 15 stations in the nation where screenings are being made available.

In Pennsylvania, over half a million children receive free and reduced lunch through school, every fourth person standing in line in a soup kitchen is a child, and 30% of the people served locally by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank are children.* Pennsylvania is not unique. Families facing food insecurity is a growing issue in the United States. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 17 million American children — nearly 1 in 4 — have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious food. Of these children, more than half (9.6 million) are under the age of 6.** In response, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, with funding and partnership from United HealthCare and the Merck Foundation, launched Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget in Fall 2010. The multimedia and bi-lingual (English and Spanish) Food for Thought resource kits, created by Sesame Workshop with the guidance from an Advisory Board, were developed to provide free resources in support of families with young children coping with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food.

With support from Walmart, Growing Hope Against Hunger extends the Food for Thought initiative through the national television broadcast of the new primetime special, the distribution of 35,000 Food for Thought resource kits and along with Pittsburgh, Walmart will host screenings in 14 other communities. In May 2010, Walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the U.S. through 2015.

“At Walmart, we’re committed to fighting hunger and providing healthy, affordable food to families across the U.S.,” said Andrea Thomas, Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Walmart. “We’re proud to partner with Sesame Street to help raise awareness of the issue of hunger in America and what we can do to help our neighbors.”

“Sesame Workshop has always been at the forefront of creating resources for families with young children to help address some of life’s most difficult issues.” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “Growing Hope Against Hunger is Sesame Workshop’s contribution to all those who face the invisible crisis in the United States that is food insecurity. We are honored to have the generous support of the Walmart Foundation and to work with Brad and Kim and all our supporters and especially the families who share their very personal stories so others can learn and benefit from their journeys."

Growing Hope Against Hunger, produced by Sesame Workshop with documentary films by Academy Award winning director and filmmaker Cynthia Wade, featured Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams Paisley. “Food insecurity is a growing and difficult issue for adults to discuss, much less children,” said Brad and Kimberly. “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.”

All materials will also be available online at sesamestreet.org/food.

About WQED Pittsburgh
WQED Pittsburgh has a proud history of honors, including 121 National and Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards, an Academy Award, and many, many others, including two Emmy® Awards for Station Excellence. WQED was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. The people of WQED create, produce and distribute quality programs, products and services to engage, inform, educate and entertain the public within their community and around the world. WQED Pittsburgh is one of the first broadcasters in the country to be fully high-definition (HD) in its studio and field production capabilities. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org); and The WQED Education Department.

Let's Move Pittsburgh
—modeled after First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! national campaign to raise awareness about the benefits of healthy foods, increased exercise and decreased screen time for children—is a collaborative effort of organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania committed to addressing childhood obesity in our region. Since many of the lifetime habits of children are established from birth to age eight, Let's Move Pittsburgh focuses on this impressionable group and advocates on their behalf by: 1) Identifying and building upon current best practices; 2) Uncovering, analyzing and removing barriers to change; and 3) Developing and establishing a consistent message among healthcare providers, early childcare centers, schools, out of school and community programs, and the food, restaurant and beverage industry about what we should be doing for children now to foster better habits for the future. Engaging communities with an interest in and a capacity for making a difference, Let's Move Pittsburgh ultimately seeks to better understand childhood obesity, and then tackle it with a unified approach that anyone with a stake in this issue can follow to meet a common goal.

About Walmart:
is proud to support initiatives that help people live better around the globe. In May, 2010, Walmart pledged a historic $2 billion to fight hunger in the US. In addition, the company is committed to providing healthier, more affordable food for its customers; Walmart is working with suppliers to make healthy, fresh food less costly. Other initiatives supported by Walmart include education, workforce development and environmental sustainability. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoudation.org.

About Sesame Workshop:
Sesame Workshop
is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children’s television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 150 countries, and other acclaimed shows to help bridge the literacy gap including The Electric Company. Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning. Learn more at www.sesameworkshop.org.

About PBS:
, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans – from every walk of life – the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches more than 115 million people on-air and online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About Cynthia Wade Productions:
Cynthia Wade
is an Oscar-winning documentary director. Her 2010 short documentary Born Sweet, about a Cambodian village poisoned by arsenic-laced well water, was awarded fifteen film festival prizes around the world. Her 2008 short documentary FREEHELD won the Academy Award as well as prizes at 16 other worldwide film festivals; the documentary is now being made into a feature film starring Ellen Page. Wade recently directed the feature-length documentary Living the Legacy: The Untold Story of Milton Hershey School, which is currently airing on the IFC and Sundance Channels. Her work has been seen on PBS, A&E, Discovery, HBO, Cinemax, The History Channel and AMC. She is currently directing a new film for HBO about women’s relationship to their hair when diagnosed with cancer. Learn more at www.cynthiawade.com.

*Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Report: They Know How Hunger Feels. A Portrait of Hunger and Food Insecurity in Southwestern Pennsylvania. 2011.

** Nord, Mark, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson. Household Food Security in the United States, 2008. ERR-83, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Econ. Res. Serv. November 2009.

Press Contacts:
George Hazimanolis
WQED Pittsburgh

Pam Hacker
Sesame Workshop
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Kelly Cheeseman
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GHAH Screening Invite - GHAH Screening Invite

GHAH Tune-In Overview - GHAH Tune-In Overview



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