Tag Archives: merck

Lilly the Impoverished PBS Muppet Sells 'Free Lunches'

PBS’ Sesame Street, WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and Merck Pharmaceuticals have teamed up to teach “food insecure” children that they can get free breakfast and lunch at school.

A DVD kit is being handed out to children and families so that they are aware of the tax-funded meals that are served at their public schools.

The video packet is aimed at families that as Lilly says, “can’t always afford all the food”  that they need. The effort reveals to families how they might augment their current public assistance for food with the additional public school lunch programs.

In North Carolina, EBT cards (the electronic version of food stamps) for a family of four is given up to $688.00 per month for groceries which adds up to $8,256.00 per year.[1]

In Durham County, the two meals mentioned in the program would add up to $3.70 per K-5 child if the meals were paid for by the parents[2]. As the school year in Durham County has 180 days the total benefit for school-provided meals is an additional $1332.00 per year for a 2 child family.

Using PBS method of eating breakfast and lunch at school on school days and all other meals at home on other days, the total tax-funded benefit per 4 member, 2-child family would be $9,588.00 per year or roughly $800.00 per month for food.

Jeanette Betancourt says that Sesame saw the impact that Lilly had and is deciding to use the muppet as a tool against poverty in-general. Sesame Workshop has not yet returned CDN’s request for comment on future ‘Lilly’ material as well as what role PBS believes the parents of the children should play in their children’s meals.

[1] – North Carolina Dept. of Social Services: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dss/foodstamp/
[2] – Durham Public Schools: http://www.dpsnc.net/schools/school-lunch/lunch-menu

Video from CNSNews.com