• MLK Community Center

An open letter to Dolly Parton: Come Visit the MLK!


Friday, October 16th, 2020


Dear Dolly Parton,

We know you're so busy that it's probably out of the question for you to come visit little ol' Newport, Rhode Island again. In the meantime, our resident "book lady" Judy Hall has been hanging out with a doggy friend who shares your name: doggy Dolly Parton! Here's Judy reading the beloved Eric Carle's "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to doggy Dolly.

Dolly, we'd love to tell you about the 753 children who have enjoyed Dolly Parton's Imagination Library in Newport County. Thanks to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, presented by the Bazarsky Family Foundation, all 753 children receive a free age-appropriate book in the mail, from birth until their 5th birthday.

PS: This one of the books participating children are sent in the Imagination Library program...and it's doggy Dolly-approved. And better yet - it's the bilingual (English/Spanish) version!


We're 'ramping up' for our Thanksgiving and Christmas/Holiday programs…literally. Shown here under construction, we are adding a ramp to the Center's rear door*. Clients using the holiday meal pantries and Santa's Workshop will enter via the Edward St. entrance. To maintain social distancing, we needed another accessible exit for clients using Holiday Help. The regular on-site food pantry will remain in operation throughout, so we'll need the main entrance on Marcus Wheatland Blvd. available for those clients.

(*Little known fact: the basketball courts and playground behind our building are not MLK property. The City of Newport owns that property.)


Registration for our Holiday Help programming (Thanksgiving food pantry, holiday food pantry, and Santa's Workshop) is ongoing. As a reminder, registration deadlines are much earlier this year. Thanksgiving food pantry registration must be completed by November 10th, which is right around the corner. The registration deadline for the holiday food pantry and Santa's Workshop program is November 20th.

Register online, or contact Dezarae for an in-person appointment: (401) 846-4828 x118,


Lunch & Learn, the Center's recurring free lecture series for older adults, returns on Tues., Oct. 27th at noon, but with a few changes. (Other dates TBA)

This week, the activity will be BINGO! Lasagna and salad will be served. Precautions will be in place to keep everyone socially-distant. Masks are required when participants aren't eating. Please do not attend if you aren't feeling well or have been in contact with someone who hasn't been feeling well.

RSVP is required. Please RSVP with Melanie at or call (401) 846-4828 x124.

And don't forget: free fitness classes at the MLK are back, too! Shape Up! with Debra is a full-body workout that aims to improve balance, bone health, flexibility, and strength of participants in a safe, welcoming, and fun environment. Shape Up! meets every Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. and participants are socially distant. Please also RSVP with Melanie (info above).


Have you RSVP'd?

As a reminder, the Keeper of the Dream awards & Annual Meeting will be held virtually on Monday, October 26th from 6-7 p.m. on Zoom. We will be honoring some of our very best: Keepers of the Dream: Nancy & Doug Horsey; Keeper of the Dream - Community Partner: Jamestown Community Farm; Volunteers of the Year: Betsy Blair & Jim Van Winkle.

RSVP is required to receive the private Zoom invitation on the day-of the event. Join us and raise a [virtual!] glass to 2019 and these incredible honorees!

RSVP for Keeper of the Dream


  • Grab-n-Go Breakfast Mon-Fri, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. (Marcus Wheatland Blvd entrance)

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

  • Mobile Food Pantry visits to low-income housing communities

  • Preschool for registered preschool students. Openings currently available for 3 year olds. Contact Tanya by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x117

  • After School program for registered students

  • Daily Bread: Mon-Fri at the Marcus Wheatland Blvd entrance

  • On-site food pantry: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. First Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • Veggie Days weekly vegetable distribution outside, Thursdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or while supplies last. Now year-round!

  • LivFit Cooking & Nutrition class Tuesday & Thursday at 5 p.m. Class is socially distanced and masks are required. Call or text Kristin to attend: (401) 368-7614

  • Grab 'n Go lunches: Tues, Oct. 20th, Tues. Nov. 3rd, & Tues. Nov. 17th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free! Presented in collaboration with McGrath's Clambakes. Menu TBD. Eating on-site not permitted

  • Free flu shot clinic: Tues, Oct. 27th from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Adults 18+ only. Please bring your health insurance card if you are insured, but no one will be turned away. RSVP required: email or call Gianna: (401) 846-4828 x121

  • **NEW** Shape Up! Fitness class with Debra: Held every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Free. This full-body workout aims to improve balance, bone health, flexibility, and strength of participants in a safe, welcoming, and fun environment. RSVP with Mel by email or phone: (401) 846-4828 x124

  • **WELCOME BACK** The Lunch & Learn series for older adults returns to the Center beginning on Tues. Oct. 27th at 12 p.m. Other dates TBA. This Lunch & Learn's activity will be bingo, and lasagna, salad, & dessert will be served. RSVP with Mel by email or phone: (401) 846-4828 x124

  • Stepping Stones mentoring program: Start your journey to food security and overcome the obstacles that might stand in your way with the help of Client Support Specialist, Dezarae. This one-on-one mentoring program is open to any Newport County resident willing to meet (virtually or in-person) twice per month for at least six months, aged 18+, who is struggling with food insecurity. Contact Dezarae via email or call (401) 846-4828 x118

  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, presented by the Bazarsky Family Foundation in partnership with the MLK Community Center, puts books into the hands and hearts of children across the world. They partner with local communities to mail a hand-selected, age-appropriate, high-quality book each month to registered children from birth to age five, completely free of cost & regardless of family income. More info

  • Senior farmers market coupon booklets are available to pickup at the MLK. While supplies last, Rhode Island residents seniors ages 60+ who meet the income requirements can pick up one booklet per season. Reminder: coupons expire Oct. 31st, 2020

  • Holiday Help: Registration is open! Contact Dezarae by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x118 or register online. Due to limits on gathering, no drop-in registrations permitted this year. Thanksgiving registration deadline: Nov. 10th. Holiday pantry & Santa's Workshop deadline: Nov 20th

  • Donations: Donations of non-perishable food, fresh produce, household items, and personal care items are accepted at our loading dock Mon-Fri 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Please ring the bell upon arrival. Masks required to donate. A list of our urgent needs available here

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center

(401) 846-4828

No temenos la capacidad de traducir cada entrada del blog a español porque usamos una herramienta de traducción en el internet. Por favor, disculpe cualquier error gramática. Por favor, llame al Centro si tiene alguna pregunta.

Una carta abierta a Dolly Parton: ¡Ven a visitar el MLK!



Querida Dolly Parton,

Sabemos que está tan ocupado que probablemente sea imposible que vuelva a visitar el pequeño Newport, Rhode Island. Mientras tanto, nuestra "señora de los libros" residente Judy Hall ha estado saliendo con una amiga perrita que comparte su nombre: ¡la perrita Dolly Parton! Aquí está Judy leyendo "La oruga muy hambrienta" del querido Eric Carle a la perrita Dolly.

Dolly, nos encantaría contarle sobre los 753 niños que han disfrutado de la Biblioteca de imaginación de Dolly Parton en el condado de Newport. Gracias a la Biblioteca de imaginación de Dolly Parton, presentada por la Fundación de la familia Bazarsky, los 753 niños reciben por correo un libro gratuito apropiado para su edad, desde el nacimiento hasta los 5 años.

PD: Este es uno de los libros que los niños participantes son enviados al programa Imagination Library ... y está aprobado por Dolly. Y mejor aún, ¡es la versión bilingüe (inglés / español)!


Estamos 'acelerando' nuestros programas de Acción de Gracias y Navidad / Vacaciones… literalmente. Mostrado aquí en construcción, estamos agregando una rampa a la puerta trasera del Centro *. Los clientes que usen las despensas de comidas navideñas y el Taller de Santa entrarán por la entrada de Edward St. Para mantener el distanciamiento social, necesitábamos otra salida accesible para los clientes que utilizan Holiday Help. La despensa de alimentos habitual en el lugar permanecerá en funcionamiento en todo momento, por lo que necesitaremos la entrada principal en Marcus Wheatland Blvd. disponible para esos clientes. (* Dato poco conocido: las canchas de baloncesto y el área de juegos detrás de nuestro edificio no son propiedad de MLK. La ciudad de Newport es dueña de esa propiedad).