A “Next Normal” Summer

MLK Community Center Newport


Friday, June 26th, 2020


Despite some return to the “next normal” this summer, life remains very difficult for many in Newport County. The MLK hasn’t stopped providing essential Hunger Services to anyone who needs them.

Some perspective:

  • Our Mobile Food Pantry went out into the community a total of 37 times in 2019. As of yesterday, the Mobile Food Pantry has been out into the community 60 times in 2020. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis alone, we’ve held an astounding 48 Mobile Food Pantries, providing much-needed groceries to low income housing communities.
  • In 2020, over 3,220 individuals have visited the MLK’s food pantry. That’s 78{0dea1ee01446a116234657b75d936b0e716093049dafb86e79a4cfcc5e8f9044} of all of the people served in all of 2019.


Volunteering begins to resume at the Center

They’re BAAAAAACK! March 13th was the last day we had regular volunteer shifts at the MLK. It’s been rough without our volunteers. First, because we love having them here, and we’ve really missed them. Second, because their selfless efforts are essential in our programs. Volunteers have been helping with Breakfast for a few weeks, and last week, Food 2 Friends volunteers resumed pick-up for contactless delivery to homebound seniors. This week, Food 2 Friends shopper volunteers returned, like Martha (L) and Laurel (R). We’re staggering volunteers to just two at a time so they can remain physically distant in the pantry, as they shop and bag the orders for delivery. It’s not the same, but it’s progress.


Everyone Counts. We’re committed to helping our community complete the 2020 Census. Every 10 years, the census counts every person living in the United States. Our responses to the Census shape how $675 billion in public funding is distributed to communities for healthcare, education and more.

A U.S. Census worker was at the MLK today and will return Mon. 6/29, and Wed. 7/1 from 10 am to 2 pm to help everyone complete the Census. Assistance is available for Spanish-speakers. ➡️The Rhode Island Foundation has provided supermarket gift cards that will be given to those who complete the Census on-site. Visit the table outside of the MLK’s Edward St. entrance.

Pictured here: Edie, a Census worker. Like so many people in our community, she has more than one connection to the MLK: she also volunteers to do AARP tax prep!


MLK joins collaborative effort with Newport Housing Hotline & Newport Mental Health

“Neighbors helping neighbors” It’s what we’re all about at the MLK – that’s why we’re particularly excited about this very unique partnership. For the past nine weeks, a coordinated community effort has housed a group of adults experiencing problems with mental illness, substance abuse, and stress problems in local motels. These conditions make them more susceptible to COVID-19. Newport Housing Hotline and Newport Mental Health have provided single motel rooms since April. The MLK is helping the effort by providing breakfast for the 38 adults participating in the program. Among the various healthy breakfast items donated weekly to the initiative are low-fat milk, yogurt, granola and cereal bars, crackers, nuts, assorted cereal, and tuna to-go for later. We wholeheartedly believe in the life-changing power of community.


The health and safety of our clients and staff remain our highest priority. All of these events are modified to ensure proper social distancing.

TOMORROW Saturday, June 27th, 9 am – 12 pm: Drop off your broken or unused electronics to be disposed of responsibly, free of charge. More information here.

,,Full Event Calendar


As a reminder, we remain open to provide:

  • Grab-n-Go Breakfast every weekday, 7:30 – 8:30 (Edward St. entrance)
  • Food 2 Friends delivery for homebound seniors
  • Mobile Food Pantry to low-income housing communities
  • Preschool for registered preschool students
  • Daily Bread: Available outside both the Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd & Edward St. entrances weekdays from 10 am – 4 pm. Please take no more than 2 items per family.
  • A modified on-site food pantry Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Edward St. entrance)
  • Veggie Days weekly vegetable distribution outside, Thursdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Summer Camp for registered summer campers, beginning July 6th

We’ve reduced the time between pantry visits from once a month to every 14 days because we know this is a particularly difficult time for everyone.

Helen*, a Portsmouth resident and Food 2 Friends client, left this touching voice message for the volunteers who delivered her groceries this week.

Your support makes moments like this happen. Food 2 Friends delivers groceries to homebound people, providing not only nourishment but fellowship to seniors who may be otherwise isolated. Our Food 2 Friends deliveries are still contact-less, but the comfort of knowing “you’re not alone,” especially in these times, is life-altering.

*Name changed to protect client privacy.

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About Director
William Wright

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