NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center had a big reason to celebrate this year after receiving a donation from one of their longtime supporters that will help them provide for the community for years to come.
Executive Director Heather Hole Strout said this year, they chose to hold a drive-through version of the annual food drive for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“We raised about 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food, brought in by all different members of our community,” she said.
While she’s used to receiving food donations, Strout said nothing prepared her for the sizable donation she received from Jane Mead Timken, a Newport resident and longtime friend of the center.
“Jane told us she wanted to give us her house,” Strout said, adding that Timken made the largest donation in the center’s nearly 100-year history.
As hard as that was to believe, the Willow Street home was transferred into the name of the center back in November, and five days after it was put on the market, it sold for $1.7 million.
“That money will really be helping the future of Newport County and the center for generations to come,” Strout said.
The money from the sale has been put into an endowment, according to Strout. She said it was all made possible by a woman who takes the quotes and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to heart.
“She really is a person who only wanted us to tell this story, not because she wants a pat on the back, or accolades from people, but because she wants to inspire others to do similar things,” Strout said.
The center’s food pantry is open to the public every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as every first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon.