Up to Our Ankles

MLK Community Center Newport


Friday, May 29th, 2020


If last week we were “dipping our toes into the water,” we guess we’re up to our ankles now!? We have been hard at work and have finally received approval to reopen our Preschool on Monday, June 1st. Our education staff have been working in Hunger Services for the past 10 weeks but are eager to get back to their students. All staff participated in a video training through the Rhode Island Department of Education and we are following all guidelines to safely reopen.

The children are separated into two stable groups of 9, which can’t interact under the COVID-19 Reopening Plan. The feet on the floor are visual cues separating the kids into two groups (pictured at top). State law mandates 2 teachers per group of children, but we have decided to take on the added expense of having 3 teachers per group. This will allow for more individualized learning and increased safety and continuity.

Thanks to generous grant funding and private donations, we are providing scholarships for nearly 90{9c53042864d6633bf2db1751356d150642c8291f4631350ba2d56f5b9a7a0e43} of weekly tuition for all preschool students through the end of August, meaning hard-hit working families will pay only $20 per week to help them get back to work, and back on their feet.

Volunteers start to return: While we aren’t ready to reopen fully, we are excited to welcome back our Breakfast and Mobile Food Pantry program volunteers starting Monday, June 1st. Summer Camp is coming: Our plan to reopen Summer Camp awaits final approval. We’re looking forward to welcoming our older students back to the MLK.


Above: Executive Director Heather Hole Strout distributes groceries at a Mobile Food Pantry event.

Photo Credit: Kate Whitney Lucey

The Mobile Food Pantry is still on the road, bringing prebagged groceries, personal care items, frozen meat, eggs, and fresh produce to neighborhoods across Newport County. Newport County residents can get help every 14 days and don’t have to reside in the neighborhood the truck is visiting.

Exciting news: Our friends at the Potter League for Animals will be distributing pet supplies at select Mobile Food Pantry events! Look for the *** beside dates.

  • Thur. June 4th: Earl Ave. Housing Area (Newport), 12-12:45 p.m.
  • Tue. June 9th: Pemberton Apartments (Jamestown), 12-12:45 p.m.
  • Tue. June 9th: Conanicus Apartments (Jamestown), 1:15-2 p.m.
  • Thur. June 11th: Festival Field Apartments (Newport), 12-12:45 p.m. ***
  • Thur. June 11th: MET School (Newport), 1:15-2 p.m. ***

More Mobile Food Pantry Dates


Our goal is to register all eligible children in Newport County!

Thank you to the Newport Daily News for highlighting our latest initiative: Imagination Library. Check out the article here!

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library puts books into the hands and hearts of children across the world. Through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, presented by the Bazarsky Family Foundation, every month young children anywhere in Newport County can receive a book of their very own for their first five years.

Learn More about Imagination Library


This past Tuesday, May 26th, 70+ people enjoyed a delicious grab ‘n go meal thanks to the MLK Community Center’s collaboration with McGrath’s Clambakes and Catering.

In June, we’ll host two more grab ‘n go evening meals in collaboration with McGrath’s, to help fill gaps in the Community Meal Calendar, caused by the pandemic.

Mark your calendar:

Tuesday, June 2nd from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 16th from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

All meals are served from our front lawn. Attendees must adhere to proper social distancing and remain 6 feet apart. Face coverings are required to attend, and, sorry, no eating is permitted on-site. Menu selection TBD.


As a reminder, we remain open to provide:

  • Grab-n-Go Breakfast every weekday, 7:30 – 8:30
  • Food 2 Friends delivery for homebound seniors
  • Mobile Food Pantry to low-income housing communities
  • Preschool, beginning June 1st
  • A modified on-site food pantry Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Edward St. entrance)

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.


Our Master Gardeners friends at the URI Cooperative Extension kindly donated ~100 blooming annual plants last week. We distributed these beauties to Food Pantry clients, and they certainly brightened everyone’s days.

Thank you to all of our community partners and friends who have been so steadfastly generous throughout this challenging time.

We couldn’t do what we do without you.

Support Newport County, Support the MLK

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About Director
William Wright

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