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MLK Doors Reopen for Breakfast: Red Sox, Hot Coffee, & French Toast ☕️

UPDATES FROM THE MLK COMMUNITY CENTER Friday, July 16, 2021

THE RED SOX, HOT COFFEE, AND FRENCH TOAST In-person Breakfast programming has returned to the Center

Along with so many adaptations that the world made throughout the pandemic, the MLK had to pivot when offering a staple program: our in-person Breakfast program, which provided fellowship and daily meals each weekday for some of Newport County’s most vulnerable, switched to a grab & go meal. The large pop-up tent outside the Center served as so many things throughout the pandemic – a waiting room, a meal site, -- and it's where clients queued for Breakfast too, rain or shine, often inquiring when in-person Breakfast would return to the MLK.

We are proud to have offered and improved this essential program throughout the pandemic, but we were eager to open our doors to everyone again. We serve an array of folks in all of our programs, and we see many who face homelessness, mental health challenges, and/or substance abuse disorder in our Breakfast program. The fellowship and human connection of sitting down over a hot meal and a cup of coffee and talking about the Red Sox – that can't be overstated.

That day finally came, on July 6th, but looked different from Breakfasts past. We now prepare a hot Breakfast every day. On Wednesday (pictured), it was French toast with fresh apple compote and bacon on the side. The Breakfast program in 2021 is not a return to the plated meal offered before the pandemic: instead, clients can choose between a hot boxed breakfast, yogurt, fruit, or cereal (or all of the above) plus freshly brewed hot coffee. Those who wish to stay and eat are welcome to and those who prefer the grab & go style can enjoy their meal elsewhere. Clients are also offered sandwiches to-go for a midday meal, plus personal care items like a toothbrush and toothpaste if they need it.


Pictured: Some of our amazing Breakfast volunteers: (from left) Bill, Sally, and George


There's a lot that goes into our Breakfast program behind the scenes. From Breakfast cooks to servers to coffee-makers to sandwich-for-later-makers, it takes 28 people over the course of the week to put this program on, some here as early as 6:30 AM every day. We're thankful to everyone who comes together to make Breakfast happen: volunteers, staff, and our dedicated community supporters. The MLK provides over 11,000 meals through the Breakfast program over the course of a year, and now that this program has expanded, your support is needed more than ever. It's donations from community members that make programs like Breakfast happen.


Support the MLK's Programs, like Breakfast & More

A WEEK OF MUSIC AT THE MLK

PICTURED: Third Coast Percussion members show Summer Campers that anything can be an instrument... even wooden blocks.

THIRD COAST PERCUSSION: On Friday, students in the MLK's Summer Adventure Camp enjoyed an interactive workshop, "Think Outside the Drum," and performance by Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion, thanks to Newport Music Festival. Students learned the "building blocks of music," experienced the quartet's repertoire, and had time for some Q&A. Following, Newport Music Festival welcomed Third Coast Percussion to Newport with a performance at the Great Friends Meeting House. These programs were sponsored by Betsy Blair and Jim Van Winkle, with additional support provided by BankNewport and the NewportFed Charitable Foundation.

ROBERTICO ARIAS PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE: On Wednesday, we held our second performance in the "Live from the [Loading] Dock" concert series. The sunshine was finally able to join us, and the Robertico Arias Percussion Ensemble gave a stellar lively, upbeat performance to a packed MLK front lawn. Hot dogs and hamburgers were served, and folks (and fur babies) got up to dance, enjoying the music, the company, and the sunshine. This series is offered in collaboration with Common Fence Music, and Wednesday's performance was generously sponsored by our friends at Caleb & Broad and Point Wine & Spirits. Be sure to catch the next show (and final concert of the summer) on Wednesday, August 11th from 4:30 – 6 pm. The Vox Hunters will be performing!

IMAGINATION LIBRARY: One of our littlest friends Baker recently just received his newest Imagination Library book in the mail for this month! His mom, MLK volunteer Taylor, said Baker loves receiving his new book in the mail. Through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (DPIL), all children in Newport County from birth to their 5th birthday are eligible to receive a free book in the mail each month. DPIL was founded on the belief that all children should have a library of their own, and recognition of the value of parents reading to little ones at such an early age. DPIL is presented to Newport County thanks to a collaboration with the MLK Community Center and sponsorship from the Bazarsky Family Foundation. Do you know a kiddo in Newport County under 5? Make sure their parents get them registered!

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SUMMER CAMP: This past week in Summer Camp, campers were Zoologists – lessons and activities centered around exploring different animal species. Students enjoyed lessons in literacy, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), enjoyed trips to the beach (when weather permitted!), took trips to Prescott Farm, the Naval Undersea War College, and SailNewport, and much more. When asked by a family member about what he's been doing in camp, Summer Camper Sawyer exclaimed, "We did math! I love math. We do literacy, we go to the beach, and I picked up hermit crabs!" Summer Camp is made possible thanks to generous support from people across the community, and funders like BankNewport.

FOOD PANTRY FEATURE: We Need Cereal of All Types

Summer is officially in full-swing, which means school is out, and many food-insecure families no longer have school meal programs to rely on. In 2018, around 64% of Newport public school students received free or reduced cost meals at school. But that food insecurity does not simply disappear once the school bell rings.

Since children are out of school, our food pantry request for the month of July is assorted cereal. Not only is it a favorite among children, but it's a meal or snack that kids can prepare on their own. A moment from a recent Mobile Food Pantry stuck with us: a 10-year-old boy approached a staff member at a Mobile Food Pantry and asked for just a box of cereal. He was grateful, and could be seen walking back to his home eating it right from the box. Of course kiddos love the sugary stuff, but we ask for a variety of cereal, so there's something for everyone. Whole grain cereals with low-sugar contents are great for adults and kids alike. You're welcome to stop by our loading dock on-site at the Center Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to drop off any donations. Thank you!

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HERE TO HELP View all: Google Calendar / Facebook events 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 for your first class, 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!

  • Grab & Go Breakfast Mon-Fri, 7:30 - 8:30 am. (Marcus Wheatland Blvd 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 Ed 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! Beginning June 1st, every Tuesday throughout 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! Menu TBD.

  • 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, July 14th at 4:30 pm, enjoy the sounds of the Robertico Arias Percussion Ensemble. Arias, a Dominican Republic native, is a talented musician and master percussionist. This event made possible thanks to the generosity of event sponsors Caleb & Broad and Point Wine & Spirits.

  • Preschool for registered students. DHS accepted & scholarships available. Contact Tanya by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x117.

  • After School program for registered elementary school students. DHS accepted & generous scholarships available. Contact Jeanine by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x209

  • Summer Adventure Camp: Offered June 28 - August 20, 2021 Monday - Friday, 8 am to 4 pm for registered campers. Rising 1st through 5th graders eligible. Campers enjoy daily field trips around Aquidneck Island, and make & maintain academic strides in math, literacy, science, & more through daily lesson plans. DHS accepted & generous scholarships available. Contact Jeanine by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x209.

  • NEW: LEAD - Peer Group for LGBTQQ+ Youth: On Wednesdays at 3 pm, LGBTQQ+ youth are invited to join the LEAD Youth Peer Group at the MLK (L.E.A.D. = Love, Equity, Acceptance, and Dreams). No RSVP necessary. Please contact Mirasia at the Center with any questions: via email or call (401) 846-4828 x201.

  • Yoga Class: Yoga is offered at the Center every Tuesday and Friday morning at 8 am. All skill levels & all community members welcome! RSVP online or with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124.

  • Toning in '21 Fitness Class: Every Wednesday at 8:30 am, this full-body workout aims to improve balance, bone health, flexibility, and strength of participants in a safe, welcoming, and fun environment. All skill-levels & all community members welcome. RSVP online or with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124.

  • Zumba Fitness Class: Every Monday morning at 8:30 am. All skill levels & all community members welcome. RSVP online or with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124.

  • Free, Safe, and Confidential HIV & Hep C Testing: Get tested for HI