Emily Fritz | A&E Editor
“I’ll think of you when I’m not here, because thinking of people makes them seem near.”
What better way to honor our favorite neighbor Fred Rogers than by supporting the 23rd Annual Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive?
Known for his compassion, empathy and kindness, Rogers entertained children through 895 episodes of the self-titled show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” from 1968 to 2001.
Since his passing in 2003, he remains an icon for the Pittsburgh community.
Now, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh continues his loving, community-focused legacy through the sweater drive. Started in 2000 by Rogers and his wife Joanne, the event has provided more than 44,000 sweaters to veterans, children and families across the tri-state area.
“Fred and Joanne Rogers taught all of us the importance of sharing and giving, and that legacy continues to live on today,” said Jane Werner, Executive Director of Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
“We are proud to continue this annual tradition as we carry on their mission of spreading kindness and helping those in need.”
From Nov. 13 through Dec. 15, donations of new and gently-used adult and child-sized sweaters will be accepted at the museum as well as three partner locations: The Oaklander Hotel, YogaSix South Hills and Club Pilates South Hills.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Children’s Museum and support families in need,” Krissy Danburg, Studio Owner of YogaSix South Hills, told Channel 11 News.
“Last year, we collected over 240 sweaters, nearly twice as many as the year prior, which was incredible. It’s important to us that we are more than just a yoga studio, we also have a passion and a mission to give back to our community,” Danburg said.
Despite Rogers’ locality to Pittsburgh, the sweater drive has also taken off in other areas of the country.
Arkansas PBS has also taken to helping their neighbors.
“Fred Rogers’ iconic cardigan sweater symbolizes the gentle spirit and kindness of the neighborhood,” Arkansas PBS executive director and CEO Courtney Pledger told 501 LIFE.
“All of us, at some time or other, need help,” Fred Rogers said.
“And, whether we’re giving or receiving a sweater, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world.”
The Children’s Museum is accepting donations every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the front entrance. Free parking is available for drive-up contributions.
The Oaklander Hotel allows for 24-hour drive-through donations at their valet station on Bigelow Boulevard.
To receive sweaters, please contact the museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Children’s Museum’s permanent exhibit, “The Kindness Gallery,” is inspired by Fred Rogers and animated show “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.”
To learn more about the Mister Rogers legacy, plan your visit today at www.pittsburghids.org/visit/tickets. Admission to the museum can be purchased online for $19.
“There are three ways to ultimate success: the first way is to be kind, the second way is to be kind, the third way is to be kind,” said Rogers.