AETN, Gentry and Gravette libraries partner in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive
Project helps provide warmth in Arkansas communities
GENTRY — The Arkansas Educational Television Network has partnered with Gentry Public Library and Gravette Public Library to sponsor a 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 Gentry Public Library, 105 East Main Street in Gentry, or Gravette Public Library, 119 Main Street SE in Gravette. A receptacle to collect the sweaters will be located prominently within each library. Sweaters collected in this drive will be distributed by the Arkansas Salvation Army.
“Fred Rogers is an icon for both public media and public service,” AETN executive director Courtney Pledger said. “He dedicated his life’s work to ensure that children and their families had the educational and emotional tools needed to grow and prosper. “AETN is proud to work with partners across the state to carry on Fred Rogers’ legacy through the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive.”
The Gentry and Gravette libraries are among the more than 30 libraries across Arkansas participating in this year’s statewide Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. A complete list of libraries and additional information is available at aetn. org/sweaterdrive.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive again this year,” Gentry Public Library Director Darla Threet said. “It feels so wonderful to connect across the community and to give back to those who need it the most.”
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.
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 nonprofit 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. For more information on the library’s services, visit 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 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 statewide public television network that 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. 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 locally on KAFT (Fayetteville).