• MLK Community Center

We're "Batter" Together 🐟🍟

Updated: Mar 21


WE'RE "BATTER" TOGETHER: Locals come together to bring St. Paddy's Day smiles

This past Wednesday, March 17th (St. Patrick's Day) a number of different friends from the community came together at our Grab n' Go meal to serve fish & chips (and masked-smiles) to Newport County. As volunteer Jim Van Winkle remarked, "We're batter together."

If you follow the Center on social media (or are a fan of our newsletter!), you'll recall the Fish & Chips For Good campaign that so many Newport County businesses participated in throughout the month of February (*and some continue through Lent): for every order of Fish & Chips sold, the businesses would donate a percentage of the sale to the MLK Community Center. We're thrilled to see our local businesses come together in this way, and thrilled to be able to help promote them, too.

We figured: what better way to tie up the Fish & Chip For Good campaign than to serve fish & chips at our St. Patrick's Day Grab & Go meal! Everyone loves fish & chips and many of you have purchased fish & chips throughout this promotion. But, for most of our clients, going out to eat is not within what budgets allow, especially during this time of widespread unemployment and uncertainty. This meal made fish & chips accessible for anyone who may not have been able to get out to any of the restaurants.

Our Grab & Go meals are the Center's opportunity to make a positive impact on our local economy by contracting with local businesses: Generous community support means we could pay McGrath's Clambakes & Catering to prepare the meals, and the Newport Sweet Shoppe to make the most incredibly festive St. Paddy's day cookies. We invited managers from the restaurants who participated (and, continue to participate!) in the fish & chip giveback program to serve the meal. Guest servers included Charlie Holder of Midtown Oyster Bar, Kerrie Philbin of O'Brien's Pub, and Leah Alexander of Fieldstones Grille.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, and to top it all off, the Newport String Project played festive Irish tunes to create such a welcoming, positive atmosphere for all involved. We kept hearing clients remark, "this is so nice" as they put in music requests with Newport String. The meal was an overwhelming success: 310 meals were served in an hour and a half, and not a French fry remained.

If you're hungry for more, O'Brien's Pub, Midtown Oyster Bar, and Fieldstones Grille continue to donate a percentage of fish & chip sales to the Center Fridays throughout lent (until Friday, April 2nd).


The countdown to 401Gives

April 1st is only 12 days away! What's April 1st? 401Gives, of course! United Way of Rhode Island's statewide day of giving. Beginning at 6 AM on 4/1, visit the MLK Community Center's 401Gives donation page to join in this movement of Rhode Islanders dedicated to making our state a better place. More of our neighbors than ever before are struggling during this time of economic uncertainty and look to the MLK Community Center to provide life-changing necessities, like healthy food and high-quality, affordable childcare. It's no April Fool's joke... throughout the day, there will be special opportunities to make your dollar go even further. For instance, if you set your alarm early on 4/1 and give starting at 6 AM, the first $50,000 will be matched as a part of a special early-bird giving initiative. Stay tuned to the MLK's enews & social media leading up for even more special opportunities, too! Any high achievers out there can set up a personal Fundraiser page under their name that will benefit the MLK, and you can create some healthy competition among your friends & neighbors to see who can raise the most funds! (Click "Fundraise" in the yellow bar on the top of our page.) In other words, in your social media posts and texts to friends about 401Gives on the day-of, you can link to your personal fundraising page to raise money for the Center, but it will all fall under your account so you can track how much money you have personally generated.

Preview: 401Gives


News hot off the griddle: we're now offering a hot grab & go-style breakfast, every day, Monday - Friday! Your generous support makes this program enhancement possible. Now, we need help with meal prep: We're seeking volunteer chefs to help prepare meals in advance. SafeServ certified preferred, but this opportunity is open to anyone with the desire and capacity to prepare hearty meals in batches of 50. Contact Nancy via email or call (401) 846-4828 x103. Pictured: Director of Development, Alyson Novick, helped out with breakfast during the height of the COVID lockdown in 2020.


Summer Adventure Camp at the MLK Community Center is now enrolling for Summer 2021! Make this summer unforgettable for your rising 1st - 5th grader. Students will enjoy eight weeks of daily field trips around Aquidneck Island as well as make and maintain academic strides in math, literacy, and science through hands-on activities. DHS accepted and generous need-based scholarships available. Camp begins June 28th. Contact Jeanine via email or call (401) 846-4828 x209


Now visiting Pell Elementary School

The newest stop on our Mobile Food Pantry route is Claiborne Pell Elementary School in Newport. Anyone in need of non-perishable foods, meat, milk, eggs, fruits & veggies, personal care items, and cleaning supplies is welcome to stop by the next Mobile Food Pantry at Pell Elementary on Tuesday, April 30th from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm and/or May 25th from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm. First time clients please bring ID, proof of household size, and reusable bags. Full schedule



In an effort to reduce isolation, the Lunch & Learn program for seniors will return to the Center this coming Tuesday, March 23rd at 11:30 am! Registered seniors can enjoy socially-distant, masked BINGO and take home a hearty to-go lunch of shepherd's pie, salad and a cookie. Masks, social distancing, and pre-registration required. RSVP with Mel via email or call (401) 846-4828 x124. Facebook event


We need of cans for all hands

Our Mobile and on-site food pantries are in urgent need of cans for all hands. What do all of these cans have in common? They're all "pop-top." Canned goods with pop-tops are among our most in-demand non-perishable items. Some of us might take for granted is the ability to use a can opener. For those who struggle with can openers like the elderly, the disabled, and children, pop-top cans are a lifesaver. The MLK Community Center is in need of pop-top cans of all varieties, but of particular need are hearty soups with pop-tops that can act as stand-alone, easy meals. Your donations of any and all pop-top canned goods are so appreciated. Our loading dock is open to accept donations from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays. (If you'd prefer to contribute money toward pop-top canned goods, donate via PayPal and select Hunger Services from the Optional drop-down menu.)

Support Newport County, Support the MLK


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

  • 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

  • SPACE LIMITED: 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, April 21 (April break), 8:45 am - 2:15 pm. Space is limited, so register with Jeanette at LifeSpan ASAP: via email or call (401) 444-8088. Facebook event

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

  • AARP Tax Prep: We are still unsure as to whether tax prep will return to the Center in 2021. In the meantime, anyone interested in having their taxes prepared may contact the Edward King House at 401-846-7426 or the Portsmouth Senior Center at 401-683-4106 for appointments. Taxes will be prepared virtually; no in-person appointments

  • Veggie Days 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

  • THIS COMING WEEK: The Lunch & Learn program for seniors will return Tuesday, March 23rd at 11:30 am. Registered seniors can enjoy socially-distant, masked BINGO and take home a hearty to-go lunch. RSVP with Mel via email or call (401) 846-4828 x124

  • NEW: 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

  • 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

  • NEW: "L.E.A.D." Teen Support Group: LEAD, or Love, Equity, Acceptance, and Dreams, is an inclusive, supportive setting in which teen LGBTQQ* youth can acquire and hone these skills in a judgement-free environment. Program will begin April 28th at 2:30 pm and take place every other week thereafter in-person at the Center. (LGBTQQ = lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, & questioning. All teens are welcome) To participate, reach out to Mirasia by