• MLK Community Center

Moments That Matter: Hugs, Hope, & In-Person Dinners

Updated: Jul 31



So many of you support and love the Center, oftentimes without seeing many of our programs in-person. We are grateful for your support, and we love sharing these moments of hope that only happen because of you. (And if you want to come in for a tour around the MLK, let us know!) Every fourth Thursday on months where there are five, the MLK offers a community dinner as part of the Community Meal Site Calendar, a collaboration between a group of Newport churches and local organizations to offer hunger relief to those in need. Along with so much else during the pandemic, this program pivoted and the MLK continued to offer these dinners in a Grab & Go style. On July 22nd, a familiar, hopeful, and lively scene returned to our community room: the first community dinner inside the building since January 2020. This meal of American Chop Suey, a garden salad, dinner rolls, and cake was prepared and served by a group of 4 volunteers who have worked together at the MLK for 4 years now. While some sites have returned to in-person meals, the people we serve expressed that mostly cold sandwiches have been served throughout the pandemic. The folks enjoying Thursday's meal told us how great it felt to share a seated, hot meal together again. The atmosphere in our community room was palpable: joy. As the meal drew to a close, dinner attendees spontaneously burst into a round of applause for our volunteer cooks/servers, and for the MLK. An attendee (pictured, right) thanked our volunteers and complimented the food, stopping for a hug – the first since January of 2020. Meanwhile, LivFit Cooking & Nutrition class was simultaneously taking place upstairs. One student-cook (pictured, left) proudly showed off his dish, exclaiming: "It's zucchini, tomatoes, and chicken sausage. I'm 73 and I'm learning how to cook!" We've said it time and time again: these aren't just hot meals and engaging programs. With every plate and with hug, together, we build hope.

Please give so moments like these keep happening. Thank you.


This past week, campers at the MLK's Summer Adventure Camp were Biologists, enjoying lessons in literacy and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) centered around the study of living organisms. Students studied photosynthesis and the life cycle of plants, mixed their own nutritious soil, and planted their very own daisies that they're excited to watch sprout! Campers went to the beach, sang the National Anthem at the Gulls game with Newport County Youth Chorus, learned mindfulness and emotional awareness techniques with Peaceful Warriors, took sailing lessons with Sail Newport, and so much more.

Summer Adventure Camp at the MLK is made possible by the generous support of funders like the EWE Spirit Foundation and people like you. Our campers are pictured here showing their 'EWE Spirit' with the foundation's flag. In memory of local sailor Geoff Ewenson, EWE Spirit envisions a kind world where everyone has the resources, assistance, and opportunity to live with dignity, hope and joy. That's our kind of thinking! Thanks 'EWE'!


A team of summer interns from the Center's longtime friend BankNewport spent time at the MLK on Wednesday. After touring the Center, interns got to work assembly line-style, making and individually wrapping over 160 yummy turkey and cheese sandwiches. These sandwiches will be distributed in our twice-weekly Grab & Go lunch program and in our Breakfast program as a to-go lunch. As always, thank you, BankNewport!


On Thursday morning, Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea and members of her staff toured the Center to learn more about how the MLK serves Newport County. Secretary Gorbea was impressed by the bounty of produce being distributed via Produce to the People, met some of our rockstar volunteers, asked Campers their favorite things about Summer Adventure Camp ("The beach!" "Sailing!" "Seeing my friends!"), and chatted in English and Spanish with our Preschool kiddos. We were delighted to have Secretary Gorbea visit and enjoyed meaningful conversation about our shared vision for a better future for Rhode Islanders. Thank you, Secretary!

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!

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

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, 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.

  • 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 HIV & Hep C at the MLK by appointment every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month from 12 - 2 pm. This program is held in a confidential, private setting, separated from other Center programming. Participants are welcome to enter through the Center's Edward St entrance, where someone from APRI will meet you at your appointment time. To make an appointment: Call or email APRI: (401) 831-5522

  • Sabores Latinos: Every Monday at 5 pm, Spanish speakers are invited to join Yoli and Chef Carmen for Sabores Latinos, the MLK's first cooking class offered completely en Español. Yoli will teach recipes from around the Latin world, while Chef Carmen of Sprout & Lentil will teach plant-based recipes & nutrition. Participants cook alongside the instructor, take home a meal for their families, and learn a new recipe. Classes will alternate between traditional (taught by Yoli) & plant-based (taught by Chef Carmen). Spanish speakers are invited to attend & RSVP online or via email or call (401) 846-4828.

  • LivFit Cooking & Nutrition: Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5 pm. to approximately 6 pm. Participants explore healthy, low-cost recipes using ingredients commonly found in the food pantry. Participants cook alongside the instructor, take home a meal for their families, and learn a new recipe. RSVPs required with Kristin via email or text (401) 368-7614.

  • Lunch & Learn, the MLK's lunchtime meal and lecture series for older adults, will return to the MLK for a recurring schedule starting in May. Registered seniors can enjoy a hearty meal, socialization, and a fun activity or informative speaker every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 12 pm. RSVP with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124. *NEW DAY: Beginning in August, Lunch & Learn will now be held on the first & third Wednesday of the month.

  • 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 all across Newport County. 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. Registration & more info

  • Food Pantry Donations: We accept donations of non-perishable food, fresh produce, household cleaning and personal care items at our loading dock Mon-Fri 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. Please ring the bell upon arrival.

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.

Momentos que importan: abrazos, esperanza y cenas en persona


Viernes, 30 de julio de 2021