• MLK Community Center

Our MLK Volunteers, the Heart of the Center

Updated: May 1

A Letter to MLK Community Center Volunteers

National Volunteer Appreciation Week is April 18th - 24th

We say it time and time again: volunteers are the heart of the MLK Community Center. Just how essential you are became strikingly apparent last March, when we had to suspend our volunteer program due to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. Probably the most telling thing about our incredible team of volunteers? During a time of such turmoil in our community (and in our world), you just kept asking, "So, when can we help?" It was very tough not having our volunteers for several months - because you're our friends, our neighbors, part of our MLK family - and because you're absolutely essential to all that happens here. From Breakfast to Evening Food Pantry, volunteers have a hand in nearly everything here at the Center. You wake up - sometimes before the sunrise - to get to the Center to make a fresh pot of coffee and distribute hot breakfast. You make Food 2 Friends deliveries to the homebound on your lunch break from work. You wait in the rain for the bus to come, so you can get to your Food Pantry volunteer shift on time. You sacrifice countless hours to help set up our Holiday Programs. You give up your free time to come to the Center and teach free Community Programs. You make time in your always-busy schedule - work, kids, grandkids, pets, other obligations - to do the sometimes unglamorous, but absolutely necessary work, of a MLK Community Center volunteer. We haven't been able to welcome all of you back to the Center, as we're still operating under a somewhat reduced building capacity. But we'd like to extend our sincere gratitude to our volunteers - those who have rejoined us and those who have yet to - for always answering the call -- showing up for Newport County -- and doing so with a (masked!) smile. We've said it before: the "Community" in our name isn't just some nebulous idea. It's all of us, it's you. You answer the call for Newport County. And the smiles and sighs of relief when clients receive life-changing support are the products of incredible people like all of you who give so selflessly of your energy, talents, and time.

Since we weren't able to come together for our annual Volunteer Celebration in 2020, this year we distributed a special treat to volunteers who dedicated 10 hours of their time or more to the Center between October 2019 and April 2021: beautiful, custom-made cookies, a small token of our appreciation. What makes the cookies even more special is

that they were handmade by one of our very own talented volunteers: Tracy of Ocean's Edge Sweets! Here are some photos of just a few of the volunteers who received their cookies & thank you cards this week from Nancy Harten, Director of Volunteers & Community Programs.

Our volunteers embody all that's good in the world. I speak for all of the MLK's staff and board when I say from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

With gratitude,

Heather Hole Strout

Executive Director

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center

EARTH DAY 2021 Because there's no "planet B"

Happy Earth Day! Composting is something our Preschool students take very seriously here at the Center… you might even call them… "Compost Connoisseurs!" Yes, one of the most anticipated and sought-after duties of the day is post-lunchtime compost duty. Pictured here is one of our Preschoolers who was lucky enough to be chosen to help with the compost this day. (*Photo taken before the RIDOH and Department of Education recommended that Preschoolers wear masks)

The Center composts any produce that is past its prime and scraps from meals, thanks to Rhodeside Revival's Curbside Composting program. Clean Ocean Access' Healthy Soils Healthy Seas RI (HSHS RI) program helps to make composting services accessible, supported through a grant from 11th Hour Racing.

Thank you: Rhodeside Revival, Clean Ocean Access, 11th Hour Racing, and all of the partner organizations who execute the HSHS RI program, for all the good you do for our community and our planet -- and for making our Preschoolers' days!

HERE TO HELP Schedule of all events

  • 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 low-income housing communities. Schedule

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

  • AARP Tax Prep: Taxes will be prepared virtually (no in-person appointments) at the Edward King House, 401-846-7426 or the Portsmouth Senior Center, 401-683-4106.

  • Produce to the People weekly vegetable distribution, Thursdays 10 am to 1 pm or while supplies last.

  • Grab & Go lunches: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Free! Presented in collaboration with McGrath's Clambakes & Catering. Menu TBD. Eating on-site not permitted. Main Entrance on Marcus Wheatland Blvd

  • Grab & Go Surf & Turf Lunch, presented by BedJet and the Aramli Foundation: Wednesday, May 5th from 11:30 am to 1 pm. While supplies last! Free of cost. Eating on-site not permitted. More information to follow

  • Free, Confidential HIV / Hep C Testing: Thursday, May 6th from 12 pm to 2 pm at the MLK Community Center. Presented in partnership with AIDS Project RI. To make an appointment, call (401) 831-5522 or email

  • CURRENT OPENINGS: Preschool for registered students. DHS accepted & generous scholarships available. Openings available for 3 year olds. Contact Tanya by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x117

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

  • NOW ENROLLING: 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 DATE ADDED: SafeSitter Babysitting Safety Course: This free class, presented by LifeSpan, will introduce aspiring babysitters ages 11-14 to essential babysitting safety guidelines, including first aid, CPR, sitter safety, and more. Wednesday, June 30th, 8:45 am - 2:30 pm. Space is limited, so reserve your child's spot ASAP: Jeanette Nessett, LifeSpan: email or call (401) 444-8088.

  • Yoga Class: Yoga class is now offered at the Center every Tuesday morning at 9 am. All skill levels welcome. Masks required & space is limited. RSVP with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124. Starting in May, Yoga will be offered twice weekly: Tuesday and Friday mornings at 8 am!

  • 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 welcome. Masks required & space limited. RSVP with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124

  • Zumba Fitness Class: Every Thursday morning at 8:30 am. All skill levels welcome. Masks required & space is limited. RSVP with Mel: email or call (401) 846-4828 x124

  • 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.

  • Sabores Latinos: Beginning in May, this cooking class will be offered completely in Spanish! On alternating Mondays from 5 to 6 pm, Carmen Foy will demonstrate on creative ways to cook plant-based foods, and Yolanda (Yoli) Macias will focus on cultural foods from Latin America. Participants cook alongside the instructor, take home a meal for their families, and learn a new recipe. More details to follow!

  • 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. 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.

Nuestras voluntarias MLK, el corazón del centro

Una carta a los voluntarios del centro comunitario de MLK

La Semana Nacional de Apreciación a los Voluntarios es del 18 al 24 de abril

Lo decimos una y otra vez: los voluntarios son el corazón del Centro Comunitario MLK.

Lo esencial que eres se hizo evidente en marzo pasado, cuando tuvimos que suspender nuestro programa de voluntariado debido a la pandemia de COVID-19 que se estaba desarrollando. ¿Probablemente lo más revelador de nuestro increíble equipo de voluntarios? Durante una época de tanta agitación en nuestra comunidad (y en nuestro mundo), seguías preguntando: "Entonces, ¿cuándo podemos ayudar?" Fue muy difícil no tener a nuestros voluntarios durante varios meses, porque ustedes son nuestros amigos, nuestros vecinos, parte de nuestra familia MLK y porque son absolutamente esenciales para todo lo que sucede aquí.

Desde el desayuno hasta la despensa de comida nocturna, los voluntarios participan en casi todo aquí en el Centro. Te despiertas, a veces antes del amanecer, para llegar al Centro a hacer una taza de café recién hecho y distribuir el desayuno caliente. Realizas entregas de Food 2 Friends a los confinados en casa durante la hora del almuerzo del trabajo. Espera bajo la lluvia a que llegue el autobús para poder llegar a tiempo a su turno de voluntario de la despensa de alimentos. Sacrifica innumerables horas para ayudar a configurar nuestros programas de vacaciones. Renuncia a su tiempo libre para venir al Centro y enseñar Programas Comunitarios gratuitos. Dedica tiempo en su horario siempre ocupado (trabajo, niños, nietos, mascotas, otras obligaciones) para hacer el trabajo a veces poco glamoroso, pero absolutamente necesario, de un voluntario del Centro Comunitario MLK.

No hemos podido darles la bienvenida a todos al Centro, ya que todavía estamos operando con una capacidad de construcción algo reducida. Pero nos gustaría extender nuestro sincero agradecimiento a nuestros voluntarios, aquellos que se han unido a nosotros y aquellos que aún no lo han hecho, por responder siempre a la llamada, presentarse en el condado de Newport y hacerlo con una sonrisa (¡enmascarada!). .

Lo hemos dicho antes: la "Comunidad" en nuestro nombre no es solo una idea nebulosa. Somos todos, eres tú. Responde a la llamada del condado de Newport. Y las sonrisas y suspiros de alivio cuando los clientes reciben un apoyo que les cambia la vida son el producto de personas increíbles como todos ustedes que dan de manera desinteresada su energía, talentos y tiempo.

Como no pudimos reunirnos para nuestra celebración anual de voluntarios en 2020, este año distribuimos un obsequio especial a los voluntarios que dedicaron 10 horas de su tiempo o más al Centro entre octubre de 2019 y abril de 2021: hermoso, hecho a medida galletas, una pequeña muestra de nuestro agradecimiento. Lo que hace que las cookies sean aún más especiales es

que fueron hechos a mano por uno de nuestros talentosos voluntarios: ¡Tracy de Ocean's Edge Sweets! Aquí hay algunas fotos de algunos de los voluntarios que recibieron sus galletas y tarjetas de agradecimiento esta semana de Nancy Harten, Directora de Voluntarios y Programas Comunitarios.

Nuestros voluntarios encarnan todo lo bueno del mundo. Hablo en nombre de todo el personal y la junta de MLK cuando digo desde el fondo de mi corazón, gracias.