Project helps provide warmth in Arkansas communities


CONWAY, Ark. (AETN) — The Arkansas Educational Television Network and more than 30 libraries across the state have partnered to sponsor the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive as a tribute to Fred Rogers and his example of being a caring neighbor. The drive will be held Nov. 1-30.


Members of the community are asked to donate new or gently worn sweaters at participating libraries or AETN headquarters in Conway. Sweaters collected in this drive will be distributed by various local charities and the Arkansas Salvation Army. Additional information is available at aetn.org/sweaterdrive.


Participating libraries include:


• Alma Public Library.


• Arkansas State Library (Little Rock).


• Barton Library (El Dorado).


• Boyd T. and Mollie Gattis Logan County Library (Paris).


• Cabot Public Library.


• Carlisle Public Library.


• Charleston Public Library.


• Cross County Public Library (Wynne).


• Dardanelle Public Library


• Delight Branch Library.


• Earle Public Library.


• Eudora Branch Library.


• Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library.


• Forrest City Public Library


• Franklin County Public Library (Ozark).


• Garland County Library (Hot Springs).


• Gentry Public Library.


• Gravette Public Library.


• Harper Memorial Library (Junction City).


• Huttig Library.


• Logan County Library (Booneville).


—-MORE—- • Madison County Library (Huntsville).


• Marion County Library (Yellville).


• Marjorie Walker McCrary Public Library (Lonoke).


• McGehee Branch Library.


• Norphlet Library.


• Monticello Branch Library.


• Sevier County De Queen Branch Library.


• Smackover Public Library.


• Star City Branch Library.


• Strong Library.


• Van Buren Public Library.


• Warren Branch Library.


“Fred Rogers’ dedication to ensuring that children and their families had the educational and emotional tools needed to grow and prosper made him an icon for both public media and public service,” AETN Executive Director Courtney Pledger said. “AETN is proud to carry on his legacy through the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive by working with outstanding library and charity partners across the state.”


This is the fifth year for the statewide Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. In 2017, 34 libraries participated and collected more than 3,000 sweaters.


“The Salvation Army is excited to again partner with AETN on this project that will bring warmth and comfort to our neighbors in need this holiday season,” Captain Jay Spalding of The Salvation Army Central Arkansas Area Command said.


To help set the tone for a “comfortable” visit with his young viewers, Rogers put on a sweater and changed into sneakers as a way to help children settle in for “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” All of Rogers’ original sweaters were knitted by his mother, Nancy McFeely Rogers. Each year, she knitted a dozen sweaters and gave them to family and close friends at Christmas. Over the course of more than 40 years, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” PBS’ longest-running children’s series, earned four Daytime Emmys. As a testament to his legacy, Rogers received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and was recognized in 2002 with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his contributions to children’s development and education using broadcast television.


The Fred Rogers Company was founded by Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for PBS. In the years that followed, it not only created hundreds of episodes, but it also extended Rogers’ values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. The Fred Rogers Company continues to build on his legacy through a wide variety of media and by engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. Additional information is available at FredRogers.org.


The Arkansas State Library provides the resources, services, and leadership necessary to meet the educational, informational and cultural needs of the citizens of Arkansas, and provides guidance and support for the development of local public libraries and library services. Further information about the library’s services is available at library.arkansas.gov.


The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. Additional information is available at salvationarmyusa.org.


The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP. Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the state of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).