• MLK Community Center

5,000 People ...and 5 Fingers 👌



Pictured: A Summer Camper's hands practicing the Five Finger Relaxation Technique in a Peaceful Warriors, Powered by Prince session. The MLK's Education programs prioritize emotional awareness and mental health.

It was a perfect day of sunshine and 3 groups of MLK Summer Adventure Campers were out and about in Newport, enjoying fun activities. As the afternoon drew to a close, one of the campers began to have a tough moment. The student started to show visible signs of anxiety and stress and frustration: their face grew red, nose scrunched, shoulders tightened, and fists clenched. As our staffer approached to help the student, something remarkable and unprompted began to happen.

It started with the student's hands as wrists slightly lifted by their side. The child slowly and deliberately began touching the pads of each finger to their thumb - index finger to thumb, middle finger to thumb, ring finger to thumb, pinky to thumb - on each hand, then did the progression back again.

Our staffer was quickly able to identify this as something familiar: the Five Finger Relaxation Technique she'd observed in that week's Peaceful Warriors Powered by Prince session, which teaches mindfulness techniques, yoga poses, and emotional awareness. That week, students were taught that, in moments of distress, they can touch each finger together slowly, focusing on the physical sensation to ground themselves, while repeating a mantra with each movement: "I… am… O...K…"

The camper not only identified they were experiencing emotional distress but recalled a skill taught in camp that would help combat this. Rather than continue to travel the path of anxiety and emotional distress, they slowed down and chose to self-soothe. And the best part? It worked. The student was eventually able to ground themselves, rejoin their peers, and move on to the next activity. It's easy to be amazed by the big picture of what we do here at the MLK: serving thousands of people, or distributing tons upon tons of food. This week, we remember the smaller moments of impact that occur all around us. It's not just about the MLK serving 5,000 people throughout the year. It's about a powerful moment for 1 child, and 5 small fingers.

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Fly free, monarch butterfly! Shown above, a highlight of this week's Summer Adventure Camp was releasing monarchs the children have raised from eggs to caterpillars to pupa to butterfly. Campers also enjoyed fun lessons in literacy and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), took trips to the beach and the Newport Art Museum, played tennis at the Center thanks to lessons from the International Tennis Hall of Fame, made veggie quesadillas in cooking class, and more.

Summer Adventure Camp at the MLK is made possible by the support of generous funders like the Margit Baum Fund at Touro Synagogue and people like you.


This Saturday, August 7th (tomorrow!), our food pantry is open from 10 AM to 12 PM. Anyone new to the Center should bring along photo ID, recent mail to illustrate household size, and reusable bags, if possible. The MLK's food pantry is open the first Saturday of every month from

10 - 12.

Join us this Wednesday for the final LIVE FROM THE [LOADING] DOCK summer concert

Our final Live from the [Loading] Dock performance of the summer is right around the corner! Presented in partnership with Common Fence Music, you won't want to miss this Wednesday, August 11th's Vox Hunters performance from 4:30 pm to 6 pm. Thank you to Del Nero at the Square for sponsoring the evening's musical performance!

Thanks to generous meal sponsors BedJet and the Aramli Foundation, the show closing out our inaugural summer concert series is a special one. Delicious Italian fare catered by Vieste Italian Restaurant will be served, free of charge, for all to enjoy. The evening's menu includes: spaghetti with Vieste's handmade meatballs and marinara, chicken carbonara with house-made sauce and pasta, chicken parmesan with oven-melted mozzarella cheese and house-made marinara and pasta, plus Vieste's fresh, handmade focaccia bread. (Are you hungry yet?)

Enjoy your meal at your seat or blanket while enjoying the sounds of the Vox Hunters, or take your meal to-go.

About The Vox Hunters:

Hailing from the great state of Rhode Island, Armand Aromin and Benedict Gagliardi are seekers and singers of old songs, cultivators of local music, and chronic multi-instrumentalists. They are touted as strong tradition-bearers in their generation, and their genuine affinity for the music is evident in the emotion they draw from it. With a pair of oft-harmonizing voices tastefully garnished with fiddle, free-reeds, and tenor guitar, The Vox Hunters offer an all-natural connection to the living tradition of folk music.


The MLK Community Center is now accepting applications for our Preschool and After School programs for the 2021/2022 school year, beginning on September 8th. We have openings in all classrooms!

Preschool at the MLK is an affordable licensed education program for children 3-5 years of age. Open from 7:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, our preschool provides working parents with a safe and nurturing place to care for their children during the workday while .

$170 for 5 days; $136 for 4 days; $102 for 3 days. DHS childcare subsidies accepted. Scholarships are available and all are encouraged to apply. Please visit our website to download an application and email to Tanya Gonzalez or bring it in to the Center.

The After School Academy at the MLK offers affordable, educational after school care for students in kindergarten to 5th grade. Serving students from across Newport County, programming complements and builds upon students' in-school learning, offers homework help, physical activities, and extracurricular enrichment, like STEAM programming, chorus with Newport County Youth Chorus, and violin lessons, at no additional charge. After School at the MLK supports students' academic, social, and emotional success. Offered weekdays from school's end to 6:00 p.m. Transportation provided from Newport's Pell School.

$85/week. DHS childcare subsidies accepted. Scholarships are available and all are encouraged to apply. Please visit our website to download an application and email to Jeanine Richardson or bring it in to the Center.

FOOD PANTRY FEATURE: Incontinence Garments

Dignity is about more than having enough food. It's about having the items you need. Beyond food and household products, the MLK offers personal care items like shampoo, deodorant, dental hygiene, and menstrual products in our Food Pantry, Mobile Food Pantry, and Food 2 Friends pantry delivery program. These more expensive items are daily essentials, and for many seniors or those with health challenges, incontinence garments are a daily necessity, too. We see parents turn to the Center in dire need of diapers for their small children. Incontinence garments are an equally urgent need. They're pricey, and can be a stretch for those struggling to make ends meet or living on a fixed income.

At the MLK, we are committed to offering a wide variety of goods that serve our community's range of needs. We never want someone to leave empty-handed if they're in need of incontinence garments in their size. Throughout the month of August and beyond, we ask for contributions of adult incontinence garments, in all shapes and sizes. We know these are a more expensive item, and we're grateful for whatever you can donate. We can accept your donations at the Center's on-site loading dock Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Thank you!

When you give, Newport County is a better place for all of us. Thank you.


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AQUIDNECK NIGHT OUT: This coming Thursday, August 12th from 4 pm to 6 pm, be sure to stop by Easton's Beach for Aquidneck Night Out, an afternoon of free family fun! Sponsored by the Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth Police Departments, activities like a rock climbing wall, face painting, safety demonstrations, a bike raffle, touch a truck, and more will be offered free of charge. Be sure to come say hi to us at the MLK's table, too!

Volunteers wanted! The MLK is currently seeking Volunteer Cooks to prepare meals for our Breakfast program. You don't have to be a morning person either, you can meal prep in advance! If you're interested in volunteering with us, please fill out an online volunteer application.

Online registration is open: You can now register for Zumba, "Toning in '21," Yoga, and Sabores Latinos online! With this system, you can conveniently register, reschedule, and cancel appointments at your convenience. We suggest you make an account for easy account management (after you sign up, it will prompt you). If you aren't able to register online, you are always able to contact Mel via email or by phone to register: (401) 846-4828.

Facebook Groups: We've recently opened two private Facebook groups: one group for Parents & Families of MLK Students, and one group for MLK Community Center Volunteers. Please join the conversation!

  • Breakfast: Mon - Fri, 7:30 - 8:30 am. Grab & go, or dine-in. (Edward St. entrance)

  • Food Pantry: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am to 2 pm and Wednesday evenings from 4 pm to 6 pm; first Saturday of each month from 10 am to 12 pm

  • Food 2 Friends delivery for homebound seniors. Contact Jose for more info

  • Mobile Food Pantry visits to communities throughout Newport County. Schedule

  • Daily Bread: Mon-Fri at the Marcus Wheatland Blvd entrance, while supplies last

  • Produce to the People @ the MLK (formerly Veggie Days): weekly vegetable distribution at the MLK Center, Thursdays 10 am to 1 pm or while supplies last.

  • Produce to the People @ Newport Heights: The Center's weekly free vegetable distribution is hitting the road for the summer! Every Tuesday in the summer from 10 am - 1 pm (or while supplies last), get free, local produce for you and your family. Located behind the Florence Gray Center in Newport (on W. Evans St, between Girard Ave and John H. Chafee)

  • Grab & Go Lunch: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Sponsored by Blount Fine Foods. Free! Rotating menu.

  • Live from the [Loading] Dock, Summer Concert Series: This summer, bring a blanket/lawn chair to the Center's front lawn on the 2nd Wednesday of the month for upbeat music from diverse musicians and a meal. On Wednesday, August 11th at 4:30 pm, enjoy the sounds of folk group the Vox Hunters and a delicious Italian meal catered by Vieste Italian Restaurant. Music sponsored by Del Nero at the Square. Meal sponsored by BedJet and the Aramli Foundation.