Help Newport’s MLK Spread Cheer This Year

The Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center’s holiday programs offer help and hope to hundreds of people in Newport County. They are our neighbors, friends, kids, teens, moms, dads – the folks who live and work all around us. The need is acute all year round but during the holidays it’s especially great. Read on to see how you can help!

Did you know that 1 in 5 Rhode Islanders is food insecure?  Some need a little help, some need a lot, and that help is available at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center.


In addition to opening the Food Pantry 5 times a week, the MLK distributes holiday meal baskets for the hungry. The baskets provide staples for the holiday meal along with enough food to fill the family’s table for the school vacation week.

Consider Suzanne*. Her story is all too common in Newport County:

“I thought I was all set for the holidays, but then the transmission went on my car. I had to use all my savings to get my car fixed so I could keep going back and forth to work. It was a huge bill and it wiped me out. I don’t have money for groceries, let alone for Christmas presents for my kids. I’m just trying to keep the rent paid. I really, really need this help.”


Holiday Baskets: enough for the whole week.

Thanks to you, Santa is coming to the MLK.

Volunteers will escort families through Santa’s Workshop to choose toys and gifts for their children aged birth to 16. After making their selections, families visit the wrapping room where volunteers wrap the presents for Christmas morning.


The holidays stress the budgets of the working poor in our community. Like Suzanne, the Center’s clients have to make difficult choices like rent or food, or heat or Christmas presents, or transportation or food.

Last year, the MLK provided gifts for 283 children. This year, the parents of 360 local kids will visit Santa’s Workshop. The Center will provide holiday meal baskets for 274 families, up from 240 families in 2014.  Make the holiday a happy one for your needy neighbors by giving to the MLK Community Center All clients of the MLK Community Center are Newport County residents.


The Center is in URGENT need of donations of food and gifts. Staples like peanut butter, proteins like canned chicken and tuna, baked beans; canned fruits, fresh fruit. Boxed/bagged side dishes as well as $10 supermarket gift cards are needed. Gifts for boys and girls aged 7-12 and $25 gift cards for teens (especially Walmart, TJ Maxx/Marshalls, Game Stop, Old Navy, Sports Authority and Barnes & Noble) are also in low supply.
Volunteers are also needed for both programs.


To help, please bring donations of food and toys by Thursday December 17th to the Center’s Loading Dock Mon-Fri from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Newport County’s community resource Since 1922, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center has continued to evolve in providing a safe and nurturing environment for the changing needs of Newport County residents who seek nutritional, educational and social supports to improve their quality of life. For more information, please contact Alyson Novick at anovick@mlkccenter.org or 401.846.4828 ext. 102.

*name changed to protect identity

Photos Provided by MLK Community Center