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AETN collects food, sweaters in fall public service drives

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive, Growing Hope Against Hunger food drive continue through Friday, Nov. 4

The Arkansas Educational Television Network's (AETN) public service campaigns to benefit those in need in Central Arkansas will continue through Friday, Nov. 4. AETN kicked off a Growing Hope Against Hunger food drive and a Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive on Sept. 17.

The USDA estimates that 15.9 percent of all Arkansas households are food insecure, meaning they have limited or uncertain access to affordable and nutritious food choices. To help fight these overwhelming statistics, AETN launched a food drive in conjunction with the Sesame Workshop Growing Hope Against Hunger outreach initiative. Donations of canned and non-perishable food items will benefit the Community Action Program for Central Arkansas (CAPCA).

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization behind "Sesame Street" developed the primetime television special entitled "Growing Hope Against Hunger," which is made possible by the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, to raise awareness of the widespread issue of hunger in the United States. It provides simple, empowering strategies to families who aren't sure where their next meal will come from – and to others who want to help.

AETN also partnered with The Salvation Army of Conway to conduct a Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive as a tribute to the late Fred Rogers and his example of being a caring neighbor.

"All of us, at some time or other need help," Rogers had said. "Whether we're giving or receiving a sweater, each one of us has something valuable to bring to the world.

"That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors in our own way, everyone is a giver and a receiver."

During the Sweater Drive, members of the community are asked to donate new or gently worn sweaters, as well as other clothing. The Salvation Army will distribute the items to those in need.

Donation sites in Conway include: AETN, 350 South Donaghey; Conway Corporation, 1307 Prairie Street; and the Faulkner County Library, 1900 Tyler Street. Donations may also be made in Little Rock on the first floor of the Arkansas State Capitol, 500 Woodlane Avenue.

"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" airs on AETN at 5 a.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. on Sundays.

CAPCA is committed to enhancing lives, expanding self-reliance and increasing community involvement with quality services to eligible participants. CAPCA believes that in order for citizens to succeed certain key ingredients, such as opportunity and resources, are essential. Statistics show that poverty touches a large proportion of Americans over their lifetime. Sometimes it is a chronic condition that persists over several generations. More often, poverty comes as a consequence of life's unremarkable tragedies – illness, job loss, divorce or disability – that can destroy a family's ability to support itself. Regardless of the cause, most families struggle against their predicament, and many fight their way out of poverty. CAPCA can provide ways to assist in waging this fight against poverty.