Lily the Muppet is now homeless.
The pink Muppet, fashioned to be a 7-year-old girl, first appeared in 2011 in an hour-long PBS special called “Growing Hope Against Hunger.”
Elmo the Muppet learned a lesson that day when he said he “didn’t know there were so many people who didn’t have the food they needed,” and Lily revealed that she was one of them, CNN reported at the time.
Lily became a way for the show to talk about food insecurity, an important topic given that many families without enough to eat were part of the show’s audience, Rocio Galarza, senior director for content and outreach at the Sesame Workshop, told CNN at the time.
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“We made very specific choices for this characters so it conveyed the message that anyone could be going through this,” Galarza said. “It could be your neighbor, could be part of your family sometimes. The character is going through this with her family but is benefiting from the support of her entire community.”
Lily returns to Sesame Street this week in a series of YouTube videos that reveal her life has become much tougher over the last seven years. Now, she and her family have no place to call home, the New York Times reports.
She is the first “Sesame Street” character to be homeless, according to CNN.
“In the story line, her family is going back and forth between shelters, crashing with relatives and staying with Sofia, a real-life person who works at the local community center,” writes the Times.
In one of the videos, called “A Rainbow Kind of Day,” Lily suddenly becomes sad as she and Elmo paint a rainbow mural. Elmo encourages her to share her feelings because it will make her feel better, and Lily reveals that the color purple reminds her of her bedroom.
“We don’t have our own apartment anymore,” she says. “We’ve been staying in all different kinds of places.”
With 2.5 million children homeless across the country, the show decided to address the issue now, Jeanette Betancourt, senior vice president for U.S. Social Impact at Sesame Workshop, told the Times.
Lily will debut online on Wednesday in a video that will also feature homeless children, according to Fox News.
“I think home is to me a special place that I would like to live every single day,” 8-year-old Darinys Nueves, who lives in a shelter with her family, says on the show, Fox reported.
A panel discussion about homelessness is scheduled for Thursday on YouTube Live and Facebook Live, according to Fox.
The word homeless, however, is not used in the videos about Lily, according to the Times, because on Sesame Street, “h” stands for more sunny things, like hope.