press releases

Nolan Gould of Modern Family joins Sesame Street, Walmart and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to host community screening event

Local Event Provides Bishop Alemany High School Students the Opportunity to Volunteer at the Food Bank and Watch Muppet Special Dealing with Hunger in America

November 15, 2011. (LOS ANGELES, CA) – Today, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, with help from Nolan Gould of Modern Family and Murray from Sesame Street, hosted a community screening at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank of its much-heralded TV special, “Growing Hope Against Hunger.” The event provided educational opportunities to students and guests around the issue of hunger in America. Growing Hope Against Hunger, which aired last month in primetime on PBS, was made possible by the generous support of Walmart.  The special presented 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 introduced a new Muppet named Lilywhose family has an ongoing struggle with hunger.  In addition, a Spanish version of the special will air on November 25th on Vme at 7:30 PM.  All materials are available at sesamestreet.org/food.

“Giving back is very big for me. I’ve always said that if I had the opportunity to use my celebrity to help change the world, I would do just that,” said Nolan Gould, who plays Luke Dunphy on the Emmy-award winning show Modern Family on ABC. “When I watched Growing Hope Against Hunger,  I  was really shocked to hear that American children, just like me, are hungry and I wanted to raise awareness by spreading the word about how we could all help make a difference to end this.  I am honored and so proud to be a part of this amazing project.”

“The Growing Hope Against Hunger special comes at such a crucial time for us in spreading awareness about the hunger needs facing children, said Michael Flood, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.  “Especially in Los Angeles, we continue to experience a significant increase in the demand for food assistance from families and individuals.  The Food for Thought kits that Sesame Street has put together will be given to children and their families who participate in our Backpack Program with the purpose of providing valuable resources to thousands of Los Angeles-based families as they find solutions to put food on their tables each day.”

Families facing food insecurity is a growing issue in the United States.  The United States Department of Agricultureestimates that 16 million American children — nearly 1 in 5 — have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious food. And in 2010, nearly half of food insecure households include children under age 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 2010The 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.

* Coleman-Jensen, Alisha; Nord, Mark; Margaret Andrews; Carlson, Steven. Household Food Security in the United States in 2010 / ERR-125, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Econ. Res. Serv. September 2011

“At Walmart, we’re committed to fighting hunger and providing healthy, affordable food to families in the Los Angeles area and across the U.S.,” said Javier Angulo, Director of Community Affairs at Walmart. “We’re proud to partner with Sesame Street and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to help raise awareness of the issue of hunger in America and what we can do to help our neighbors.”

With a $1.5 million grant 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 Thoughtresource kits and Walmart hosted screenings in 15 other communities in addition to the LA Regional Food Bank.  In May 2010, Walmart committed $2 billion to fighting hunger in the U.S. through 2015.

“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 H. Melvin Ming, 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 Nolan, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and all our supporters and especially the families who share their very personal stories so others can learn and benefit from their journeys.”

“Too many children in Los Angeles and across the country are facing hunger,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America and Sesame Street Advisory Board member. “They need to know that they are not alone; and that there is help for their families. “Growing Hope Against Hunger” is spreading that message– helping us to raise awareness about the problem and the support that will ensure that children in all communities get the food the need to grow healthy, perform well in school, and succeed in life.”

About The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank:

Founded in 1973, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank sources and acquires food and other products to distribute to people facing food insecurity.  Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the 96,000 square-foot headquarters is the backbone of operation as they partner with 640 charitable agencies to supply over 62 million pounds of food annually.  In addition to food distribution, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank works to energize the community to get involved to support hunger relief in the pursuit of their vision that no one goes hungry in Los Angeles County.  For more information, visit www.lafoodbank.org.

About Walmart:

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 atwww.sesameworkshop.org.

About PBS:

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 atwww.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.

About Feeding America:

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms. For more information on how you can fight hunger in your community and across the country, visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow our news on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica

Press Contacts: 

Anne Morter for Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
213.247.9969
Anne@revgroup.biz

Pam Hacker
Sesame Workshop
212.875.6225                                                                                                                                                                       
pam.hacker@sesame.org

Follow us on Twitter! http://twitter.com/SesameStreet
Become our Fan on Facebook! http://facebook.com/SesameStreet

Manny Rivera, for Walmart
213-624-1380
mrivera@mercuryllc.com

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