• MLK Community Center

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like... a very different Santa's Workshop

Updated: Dec 12, 2020


Friday, December 11th, 2020

IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE... a very different Santa's Workshop

Many of us don't have our holiday shopping finished yet, but it's beginning to look a lot like... a very different Christmas at the MLK. We're doing everything we can to bring joy while staying safe this holiday season. Santa's Workshop 2020 is spaced out over five days and families will enter singly, and at strictly spaced time intervals.

Last year, we had 48 volunteers per shift staffing Santa's Workshop, and over 220 volunteers overall. This year, we have just 7 volunteers per shift, the majority of whom are bundling up for outdoor duties. Just 2 (amazing!) volunteers bundled all the toys and set up the room. Staff from departments across the MLK will staff the program to reduce the number of people in the Center. The event is as No-Contact as possible: parents will point to the toy bundle they prefer and receive more gift cards than in prior years. Volunteers, staff and clients will remain socially distant at all times. Despite the challenges of this unprecedented holiday season -- and thanks to incredible support from our generous community -- we're ready for Santa's Workshop to begin this Monday, 12/14.


This year has been a struggle for everyone in one way or another, but our local businesses—who are always so generous to nonprofits like the MLK – have been especially hard it. If you can support local business by buying merchandise or a gift card, we hope you'll join us in doing so. Remember, many of our small businesses in Newport County offer online ordering and/or curbside pickup. And, in this time of social distancing, takeout is our best friend! We're in this together.


On Wednesday our Preschool students enjoyed another Diversity Book Club meeting via Zoom, a collaboration between the MLK Center and Pennfield School's Diversity, Equity, and Justice Committee. Preschool students at the MLK and Pennfield meet online each month over Zoom for virtual story time, featuring a book with diverse characters and messages of equality, followed by a joint physical and art activity. This meeting's book was "I Am Enough" by Grace Byers, an ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another.

Following the story, students got moving with a positive, affirmation-filled physical activity. Students in both classrooms also wrote their own personal affirmations and drew self-portraits. Some of our students' affirmations included: "I am a good friend," "I am happy," "I am enough," "I am helpful," "I am brave" …affirmations that so many of us, of all ages, can benefit from repeating!


"The Library that Dolly Built," December 11th - 24th

Available to stream beginning TODAY in the Jane Pickens Theater Virtual Screening Room: The Library That Dolly Built goes behind the scenes of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to show how one of the most famous and beloved performers in the world has partnered with thousands of local community organizations to develop an efficient and effective program for spreading the love of reading.

Purchase Your Virtual Ticket

Did you know Newport has its very own Dolly Parton's Imagination Library!? Newport County's Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is presented by the Bazarsky Family Foundation in partnership with the MLK Community Center.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL) 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. Registered families can expect their first book within 8-10 weeks of registration.

Any Newport County child from birth to their 5th birthday can be enrolled in DPIL, presented by the Bazarsky Family Foundation, to receive a book of their very own in the mail each month. Children who live in anywhere in Newport County are eligible! To register, contact Judy Hall, Imagination Library Program Coordinator, via email or call (401) 924-4252 or register online.


LIVE "ELF" PAINT PARTY to benefit the MLK Community Center

For over a decade our friends at Memorial Funeral Home have brought the beloved Christmas movie "Elf" to the Jane Pickens Theater as a gift to the community, and a food drive to stock the MLK's Food Pantry. Due to COVID restrictions we can't all be together at Jane Pickens this year but Kurt Edenbach and his team have found a way to celebrate from the comfort of your own home, with an Elf-themed paint party by Mermaid Masterpieces.

It's simple: you donate non-perishable food, personal care or household products, and Memorial Funeral Home will provide Paint Party supplies as a thank you, while supplies last. You'll join the live paint along on Sunday. Dec. 20 at 5:00 p.m. We're delighted the Elf tradition continues in the best, socially-distanced way possible.

Facebook Event

All you have to do is follow these easy steps:

  1. Call or email Courtney (401-846-0698) to set up a time to pick up your supplies.

  2. Come to the front door of Memorial Funeral Home at your scheduled appointment time, ring the door bell, and leave food donations by the door.

  3. Take a step back and someone will be out to grab your donation and leave your Paint Party supplies.

  4. Hop on Facebook and join the live Elf Paint Party with Mermaid Masterpieces on Sunday, December 20th at 5:00 p.m.

  5. Post pictures in the comments and/or tag us, Memorial Funeral Home, and Mermaid Masterpieces in your posts so we can see your artwork!

We hope to (virtually) "see" you there!


The MLK Community Center will be closed Friday, December 25th until the New Year for our annual winter break so we can inventory food, and our staff can recharge. We will reopen on Monday, January 4th, 2021.

  • 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, while supplies last

  • 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 1 p.m. or while supplies last. Now year-round!

  • Grab 'n Go lunches: Every Tuesday and Thursday December 1st - December 24th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free! Presented in collaboration with McGrath's Clambakes. Menu TBD. Eating on-site not permitted.

  • Christmas Eve Grab 'n Go Meal: Our last gift to the community of 2020 is a special Christmas Eve meal, free of charge for anyone in need. Stop by on December 24th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a festive meal from McGrath's Clambakes and delicious cupcakes from Newport Sweet Shoppe. Eating on-site not permitted.

  • 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

  • Donations: Donations of non-perishable food, fresh produce, household cleaning 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 current 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.

Está empezando a parecerse mucho a ... un taller de Santa muy diferente


Viernes 11 de diciembre de 2020

EMPIEZA A PARECER MUCHO ... un taller de Santa muy diferente

Muchos de nosotros aún no hemos terminado nuestras compras navideñas, pero está empezando a parecerse mucho a ... una Navidad muy diferente en el MLK. Estamos haciendo todo lo posible para brindar alegría mientras nos mantenemos seguros en esta temporada navideña. El Taller de Santa 2020 está espaciado durante cinco días y las familias ingresarán individualmente y en intervalos de tiempo estrictamente espaciados.

El año pasado, tuvimos 48 voluntarios por turno en el Taller de Santa, y más de 220 voluntarios en general. Este año, tenemos solo 7 voluntarios por turno, la mayoría de los cuales se están abrigando para tareas al aire libre. Solo 2 (¡increíble!) Voluntarios agruparon todos los juguetes y organizaron la habitación. El personal de los departamentos de MLK proporcionará personal al programa para reducir el número de personas en el Centro. El evento es lo más sin contacto posible: los padres señalarán el paquete de juguetes que prefieran y recibirán más tarjetas de regalo que en años anteriores. Los voluntarios, el personal y los clientes permanecerán socialmente distantes en todo momento.

A pesar de los desafíos de esta temporada navideña sin precedentes, y gracias al increíble apoyo de nuestra generosa comunidad, estamos listos para que Santa's Workshop comience este lunes 14/12.


Este año ha sido una lucha para todos de una forma u otra, pero nuestras empresas locales, que siempre son tan generosas con las organizaciones sin fines de lucro como MLK, lo han sido especialmente. Si puede apoyar a las empresas locales comprando mercadería