NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — One step inside the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Newport and it’s easy to see why it was chosen to be profiled in this month’s 12 Gives Back.
Each month, Eyewitness News will be honoring those who make a difference in the community and at the MLK Center, volunteers and staff really stepped up in a time of crisis.
Back in January, the center helped residents impacted by a widespread gas outage on Aquidneck Island.
“We got some names of residents who were living in the Parkholm area who were in need of food, who chose to not leave their homes,” Hunger Services Program Coordinator Melanie Saunders recalled. “We actually went around with bags of food to deliver these bags to the people who were affected.”
Neighbors helping neighbors – that’s how staff members described their work.
“They come in, no matter what time of year, whether it’s being called in on a weekend, and they just work really hard to make sure our clients get the things they need to live more healthy, productive lives,” said Heather Strout, the center’s executive director.
“It’s so important to us to give back to the community that’s been so good to us,” added Lisa Dandeneau of Navigant Credit Union, which is supporting the 12 Gives Back initiative.
“When you get a chance to learn about other folks and organizations doing wonderful things in the community, we just want to celebrate with them and recognize and thank them for what they’re doing to make our community stronger,” Dandeneau added.
The center was founded in 1922 and was later renamed after Dr. King by a group of trustees of the Newport Historical Society.