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AETN Mister Rogers Neighborhood Sweater Drive

The Arkansas Educational Television Network and 32 libraries across the state collected more than 5,000 sweaters and clothing items for local charities and the Arkansas Salvation Army through the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. The drive was held in November, and sweaters are being distributed to those in need throughout the winter months.

"The Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive demonstrates AETN's and Arkansas libraries' commitment to reaching out to our viewers and patrons to make a positive difference," AETN Interim Executive Director Tony Brooks said. "We could not have accomplished this without the dedicated help of the library staffs, the Arkansas Salvation Army and other participating local charities who worked to collect these clothing items and get them directly to the people who needed them.

"This project is proof that AETN is more than just outstanding television: we are supported by outstanding people who care. I am proud of each and every one of them."

Community members donated new or gently worn sweaters at participating libraries and AETN headquarters in Conway. Sweaters collected in this drive were distributed by various local charities and the Arkansas Salvation Army.

Participating libraries included:

  • Arkansas State Library (Little Rock).
  • Ashley County Library (Hamburg).
  • Bainum Library and Learning Center (Glenwood).
  • 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).
  • Delight Branch Library.
  • Dumas Public Library.
  • Earle Public Library.
  • Eudora Branch Library.
  • Eureka Springs Carnegie Public Library.
  • Franklin County Public Library (Ozark).
  • Garland County Library (Hot Springs).
  • Gentry Public Library.
  • Harper Memorial Library (Junction City).
  • Huttig Library.
  • Logan County Library (Booneville).
  • Madison County Library (Huntsville).
  • Marjorie Walker McCrary Public Library (Lonoke).
  • McGehee Branch Library.
  • Monticello Branch Library.
  • Pike County Public Library (Murfreesboro).
  • Sevier County Public Library (De Queen).
  • Smackover Public Library.
  • Star City Branch Library.
  • St. Paul Library.
  • Strong Library.
  • Van Buren Public Library.
  • Warren Branch Library.

The 2016 Arkansas Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive was held in memory of longtime AETN Executive Director Allen Weatherly, who passed away Nov. 1, 2016.

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 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 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.

Fred Rogers and Daniel Tiger
"If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."- Fred Rogers