• MLK Community Center

Our Partners are the Pick of the Patch 🎃

Updated: Nov 7, 2020


OUR PARTNERS ARE THE PICK OF THE PATCH: Newport Restoration Foundation donates pumpkins to our education programs

We are so fortunate to have amazing community partners who share the same values as us. Prescott Farm, an 18th-century vegetable herb garden and property of the Newport Restoration Foundation grew a gorgeous pumpkin patch this year, with the goal of donating their bounty to the MLK. They grew enough pumpkins to donate to the education programs at the Center, with more to spare!

Many visitors to Prescott Farm watched the pumpkins grow and came back to see them when they were ripe. "It was a great learning experience for all and a good draw to the property for the local families," said Susan Estabrook, who has overseen the URI Master Gardener program at Prescott Farm for years. "We grew over two hundred pumpkins that amounted to over 500 lbs!"

Students in our education programs used the pumpkins not only to decorate, but to explore. Our Preschool students participated in "Pumpkin science" as a part of their STEM curriculum. Students had the opportunity to explore the parts of a pumpkin, measure the size and shape, feel the fibrous insides, and made nutritious roasted pumpkin seeds. They observed the pumpkins, comparing them to other New England fall vegetables, and learned about what happens during fall in New England. Then, of course, they were able to decorate their take-home pumpkins with paint and/or stickers, flexing their creativity muscles.

We so appreciate this partnership with Newport Restoration Foundation, in collaboration with the URI Master Gardener program. Thank you for providing these enriching (and nutritious!) curriculum tools for our students this week! 

Wishing everyone a very safe and happy Halloween! 


Keepers of the Dream honored this past Monday

In case you missed it... we honored our Keeper of the Dream award recipients at a virtual award ceremony this past Monday evening. Watch the entire stream via our YouTube channel.

Introducing our honorees...

Keepers of the Dream: Nancy and Doug Horsey

For five years, Nancy and Doug have been champions for the MLK. Their generosity and counsel have been transformational.

Whenever we ask, the Horseys answer the call. When we needed matching funds to inspire our community to donate, they have given to spark that inspiration. When we decided to pilot an innovative new program, they helped think through the challenges of creating the Mobile Food Pantry. After a year of research and implementation, we were ready to make the major purchase of a vehicle to bring varied and healthy foods and needed personal care and household items out into Newport County. The Horseys underwrote the major capital purchase of the new Mobile Food Pantry truck. 

Nancy has given many hours volunteering in the Food Pantry and Mobile Food Pantry, escorting clients through these programs with dignity, respect, and kindness, and they have been generous with wisdom and counsel on a range of challenges. Quite simply, they are essential to us.

Keeper of the Dream - Community Partner: Jamestown Community Farm

One of the most important truths that the Center holds dear is that all people want – and have a right to – healthy food.

Because of the steadfast support of Jamestown Community Farm (JCF), the MLK has been able to provide fresh, local produce and eggs to people across Newport County for decades. JCF has donated since before our digital record-keeping began in 2005. Since then, over 14,000 pounds of just-picked sustainably farmed vegetables have arrived in the back of Bob's truck, often still warm from the sun. (Pictured above: Bob Sutton, farm manager and Sterling Dintersmith, intern.)

Jamestown Community Farm grows mostly organic produce and runs almost exclusively on solar power. They capture run-off water to irrigate crops, using no onsite water. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with no paid staff except one intern: they otherwise rely exclusively on volunteer support. In addition to donating crops to the MLK Community Center, the McAuleyHouse in Providence, and the Jonnycake Center in Westerly. JCF also sells produce one weekend morning to the community at very low cost. They also worked with the Jamestown Baptist Church to establish a voucher system so local residents in need can receive fresh produce at the weekend farmstand. 

Their impact goes far beyond donating veggies. They are stewards of their land, and represent a vision for a more sustainable, generous, caring future. Quite simply, they are essential to our shared community, and especially to the MLK.

Keepers of the Dream - Volunteers of the Year: Betsy Blair & Jim Van Winkle

It's hard to believe that Betsy Blair and Jim van Winkle got involved with the MLK just a few short years ago, after they relocated to Newport, Rhode Island from Texas. They almost immediately became champions for their new community, immersing themselves in selfless service at the MLK. Whenever we ask, whatever we ask, they are there for the Center. They are the first people we think of when we are in need: "Call Bets and J-V-Dub!" is a common refrain. 

They have volunteered almost countless hours to benefit the Center, across nearly every program we offer. Because of Betsy and Jim, we now glean the Saturday Farmer's Market for unsold produce after day's end, produce that is then distributed in our Food Pantry and at Veggie Days. They have escorted hundreds of clients through the Food Pantry with dignity and respect, and made dozens of runs to pick up donations and purchases. Additionally, they have given incredibly generously to ensure we can sustain critical programs and inspire others to give. They have brought family members into our Volunteer Family. They offer wisdom, energy, commitment, and a positive attitude that improves each program they touch. 


Please join us Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m.

We're proud to announce that an all-time favorite MLK program is returning to the Center: free Zumba classes! Join us Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m. for [socially-distanced] Zumba, suitable for all skill levels.

Space is very limited and RSVP & masks required for this socially-distanced event: email or call Mel to reserve your spot. (401) 846-4828 x103. Spread the word!


Next Wednesday, November 4th

Stop by the MLK Center this coming Wednesday, Nov. 4th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a delicious free cup of the Newport Chowder Company's award-winning seafood chowder! Newport Chowder Company is donating the chowder and bringing its brand-new Chowder Cart to introduce the cart while supporting the MLK. Masks & social distancing required. Eating not permitted on-site. Facebook event


  • 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! Veggie Days will be 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. beginning November 1st

  • 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. 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

  • Chowder Cup Giveaway: Weds, Nov. 4th from 4 - 6 p.m. stop by the Center for a free cup of award-winning chowder, presented by the Newport Chowder Company!

  • **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