The organization is launching a hunger-awareness campaign in New York City starring the character, created to represent the 400,000 kids who rely on the Food Bank

Meet Olivia, the Food Bank's face of hunger in New York City

September 12, 2016

NEW YORK, NY -- The Food Bank for New York City is raising awareness about child hunger in America with an animated PSA on display on NASDAQ and Thomson Reuters billboards in Times Square.

The 30-second animated video tells the fictional story of Olivia, who is one of the nearly 400,000 New York City children who rely on the Food Bank. That’s one out of every five children in the city, according to the group.

"There is a lot of skepticism about hunger in America," said Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of Food Bank for New York City. "People hear the word ‘hunger’ and don’t think about New York City. It’s hard to imagine hunger in America, and we always try to make the story something where people can understand and experience hunger."

The Food Bank’s team worked to universalize Olivia and her family as an "awesome family that simply struggles to get food" that crosses racial and social divides, she added.

The advertising inventory for the Times Square billboards is being managed by Branded Cities Network, a company that has signage at "iconic destinations" in the U.S. Purvis said the ad space was donated to the group.

"We couldn't ever afford this," she added. "We're not out to compete with corporations. If I get one sliver of people's brains focused on Olivia, I'll take it."

"Meet Olivia," which began airing on Saturday, will run through September 30, according to Denise Levine, Chief Revenue Officer at Branded Cities Network.

"Being able to help raise hunger awareness where we live, work, and breathe is a gift to these children," Levine said, via email, adding that Branded Cities Network uses its signage to support causes around the world.

"The campaign we put together for [the Food Bank] can run an advertiser anywhere from $35,000 and up based on the time period and length of spot," she added.

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