• MLK Community Center

Summer Camp, Senators, & Sponsors - Oh My!

Updated: Aug 27


GREEN THUMBS FOR GOOD: Thank you Grow A Row Gardeners Stop by the MLK for your garden sign!

Thank you to all of our Grow A Row gardeners who have donated their garden's excess bounty to the MLK so far this season! Whether you’ve donated the traditional way (stopping by our loading dock between 8 AM and 5:30 PM) or used the Fresh Food Connect app (schedule a time for a courier to pick up your produce right from your home!), we so appreciate your contribution to the MLK Community Center. As a small token of our appreciation, we've had these adorable garden signs made up for our Grow A Row gardeners. Whether you're growing a whole row or a plant or two, like the one shown here, display your garden sign proudly beside your plants or on your front lawn to show your neighbors you use your green thumb for good! If you haven’t gotten yours yet, stop by the MLK to pick up one (or a couple!).

The demand for fresh, local fruits and vegetables has never been higher here at the MLK. We now distribute fresh, local, and often organic produce every day of our week through: our Mobile Food Pantry, Food 2 Friends delivery program, on-site food pantry, Produce to the People satellite location at Newport Heights, and on-site Produce to the People programs. We have loved seeing your garden's progress photos this season. Email us your garden pics - we’d love to see photos when your garden signs are up, too!

More Information on Grow A Row/Fresh Food Connect


This past Wednesday, August 18th, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse paid a visit to the MLK Community Center to chat with some of our Breakfast attendees and take a tour of the Center. He was impressed by the scope of programming the MLK offers, and spoke at length with Executive Director Heather Hole Strout about the Center and the needs of our community.

Above: Senator Whitehouse picks up a batch of breakfast sandwiches to deliver to clients from our volunteers

Thank you, Senator, for meeting with us bright and early Wednesday morning!

Right: Heather Hole Strout shows Senator Whitehouse the fresh produce available in the Food Pantry.

COVID hasn't left us. The MLK is still here, helping. Just one story from this week: through our Food to Friends pantry delivery program, we delivered food to a woman who tested positive for COVID-19. Given that she had to quarantine, she was unable to access food. We were happy to provide a contactless delivery to her doorstep so she could receive the food, eggs, dairy, fresh fruits & veggies, and other essentials that she needs. She expressed her gratitude in a voice mail to Jose, our Food to Friends Program Coordinator:

When You Donate, the MLK Keeps Helping

Pictured: A Camper stops for a (masked!) smile with his end-of-camp gift.


Today was the last day of the 2021 summer camp season for our Summer Adventure Campers. Can you believe the summer flew by so fast!? To commemorate a summer full of learning, fun, friendship, and memories, each camper was gifted an age-appropriate book at the end of camp, and a book on their birthday. The younger campers each received a book from the popular Bad Kitty book series, "Camp Daze," where Kitty attends summer camp. Older campers each received a copy of modern classic "Bridge to Terabithia."

Thank you to all of our Summer Camp sponsors, community collaborators, Summer Camp staff, and parents for making this a summer to remember! (And, for 24 of our campers, the summer fun isn’t ending quite yet! Next week is a Summer Camp extension week, where Camp is held for an optional additional week before the start of school, for families still in need of reliable, enriching childcare.)

Summer Adventure Camp at the MLK is made possible by generous community support from people like you.


Please be aware that our satellite location of Produce to the People, set up each Tuesday behind the Florence Gray Center in Newport Heights, will close for the season on Tuesday, August 31st. However, our on-site Produce to the People free vegetable distribution program will continue every Thursday throughout the year from 10 AM - 1 PM (or while supplies last).


Thanks to the generosity of Mobile Food Pantry sponsors, the MLK's Mobile Food Pantry brings non-perishable food, fresh fruits & veggies, milk, meat, eggs, personal care and household cleaning items into Newport County communities where transportation is often a barrier. This Tuesday, August 24th's Mobile Food Pantry at Earl Ave Apartments in Newport (12 - 1:15 PM) is sponsored by KindWorks, a division of RightWorks Inc. KindWorks has generously agreed to sponsor one Mobile Food Pantry every month for a year – incredible generosity that will uplift thousands in our community. KindWorks, a division of RightWorks Inc, aims to improve the lives of vulnerable demographics through monetary donations, fundraising, and volunteering. RightWorks connects the right people to the right jobs by consistently delivering a superior staffing experience, for both their client partners and job seekers. For more information on RightWorks, visit:


As a reminder, there are still a few spots available in the MLK’s Preschool and After School programs for the 2021/2022 school year, beginning on September 8th. Preschool at the MLK is an affordable licensed education program for children 3-5 years of age. DHS child care subsidies accepted. Scholarships are available and all are encouraged to apply. The After School Academy at the MLK offers affordable, educational after school care for students in kindergarten to 5th grade. Serving students from across Newport County, this program is offered from school’s end to 6 PM each weekday. DHS child care subsidies accepted. Scholarships are available and all are encouraged to apply.

Visit our website for an application

FOOD PANTRY FEATURE: Incontinence Garments

Dignity is about more than having enough food. It's about having the items you need. Beyond food and household products, the MLK offers personal care items like shampoo, deodorant, dental hygiene, and menstrual products in our Food Pantry, Mobile Food Pantry, and Food 2 Friends pantry delivery program. These more expensive items are daily essentials, and for many seniors or those with health challenges, incontinence garments are a daily necessity, too. We see parents turn to the Center in dire need of diapers for their small children. Incontinence garments are an equally urgent need. They're pricey, and can be a stretch for those struggling to make ends meet or living on a fixed income.

At the MLK, we are committed to offering a wide variety of goods that serve our community's range of needs. We never want someone to leave empty-handed if they're in need of incontinence garments in their size. Throughout the month of August and beyond, we ask for contributions of adult incontinence garments, in all shapes and sizes. We know these are a more expensive item, and we're grateful for whatever you can donate. We can accept your donations at the Center's on-site loading dock Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Thank you!

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


View all: Google Calendar / Facebook events

Online registration is open: You can now register for Zumba, "Toning in '21," Yoga, Lunch & Learn, 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, 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!

WANTED: VOLUNTEER YOGA INSTRUCTOR: We need a volunteer yoga instructor (or two!) to lead our 8 AM Friday morning yoga class. Our yoga classes are suitable for all ages and all skill levels. Must have yoga instructor certification or be pursuing yoga instructor certification. This is a volunteer position with very minimal time commitment - only one hour per week! - so we can work with the busiest of schedules. Reach out to Nancy via email or call (401) 846-4828 x103.

  • Breakfast: Mon - Fri, 7:30 - 8:30 am. Grab & go, or dine-in. (Edward St. 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 - 12 pm.

  • Food 2 Friends delivery for homebound seniors. Contact Jose 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! Every Tuesday in 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) Our last P2P of the season @ Newport Heights will be August 31st. Don't worry: you can always get fresh veggies at Produce to the People at the MLK every Thursday year-round!

  • Grab & Go Lunch: Every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Sponsored by Blount Fine Foods. Free! Rotating menu.

  • Preschool for registered students. DHS accepted & scholarships available. Now enrolling for the 2021/22 school year. Contact Tanya by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x117.

  • After School program for registered elementary school students. DHS accepted & generous scholarships available. Now enrolling for the 2021/22 school year. Contact Jeanine by email or by phone: (401) 846-4828 x209