10/04/2011 05:11 pm ET | Updated Dec 04, 2011

Sesame Street : Growing Hope

For 40 years, Sesame Street has been a staple in American households. It has been a member of our family, a best friend, a teacher, a mentor. It has taught us the alphabet, brought music into our lives, guided our social development, and even helped us cope with some of life's challenges.

But above it all, Sesame Street has been helping to grow new generations of conscientious global citizens. Through its thoughtful and entertaining characters, we have learned about the world, how to care for it, and how to see it through the eyes of others...

...Like Lily's, Sesame Street's feature character for their upcoming special "Growing Hope Against Hunger." Written for both children and adults, the special raises much needed awareness about the families across America who struggle with hunger. In insightful Sesame style, Lily shares her perspective of hunger as both a volunteer and as a hungry child. The special also features moving stories told by the parents and children of families who face hunger--three of which are real clients of the Feeding America network. The show brilliantly handles what could otherwise be a difficult concept for viewers to grasp: that many families struggle with hunger; and that every person, young and old, can help feed people in need.

"Growing Hope Against Hunger" is more than just a documentary about hunger. It is a message to all children and adults who experience hunger that they are not alone; there are people who care, and places where they can go for help. And there are Feeding America food banks and food pantries that serve people just like them in virtually every community in America.

Sesame Street bolsters the school-readiness of children around the world. But, first, children must have enough food to fuel their growing minds and bodies if they are to succeed. The Sesame Workshop has a history of promoting a healthy diet through programming and their Food for Thought initiative. Sponsored by Walmart, "Growing Hope Against Hunger" demonstrates The Sesame Workshop's continued commitment to address childhood hunger and nutrition.

Thanks to "Growing Hope Against Hunger" and its many community screenings taking place in cities across the country, Feeding America has the opportunity to reach millions of children--children who will grow up to become volunteers and advocates; and children who need to hear that they are not alone in their struggle with hunger. By instilling in them compassion and empathy at this very early age, we can foster their desire to give back to their communities and a life-long passion for feeding people in need.

"Growing Hope Against Hunger" airs Sunday, October 9, at 7:00 pm Eastern. Check local listings for broadcast on your PBS station.