For over a decade, Newport restaurateur Richard Sardella is donating 170 turkeys to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center (MLK Center) in Newport for its holiday food drive.

This is the 11th year that Sardella’s Ristorante Italiano has provided the main attraction of the distinctly American holiday so that all local families can enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving. Sardella has arranged to purchase turkeys from foodservice wholesaler PFG which is also making a donation to the holiday drive.  Cooking instructions are being provided by Sardella’s Chef Kevin Fitzgerald.

MLK Center’s Executive Director Marilyn Warren said that in 2016, the Center provided Thanksgiving baskets to 849 people from 271 families in Newport County.

“This year we are including single individuals in addition to families of 2 or more. Despite the widely reported rise in real estate values, many in our community remain below the poverty line even despite being employed.”  Warren said in a news release. “Thanks to the generosity of business people like Richard and individuals in the community, we are going to ensure many happy holiday tables!”

A community resource since 1922, the MLC Center’s innovative programs provide hunger relief, educational and community support for nearly 3,000 diverse residents of Newport County, Rhode Island.

“In keeping with spirit of giving at the holiday, we have increased our donation and urge our colleagues in the hospitality industry, our guests and Newport business people and citizens to join us in donating,” said Richard Sardella in a news release.

Patrick Fitzgerald, Sardella’s Ristorante Vice-President and General Manager, said, in the release, “Our heart is in this community. We are giving back in keeping with this tradition of sharing with those who might not have Thanksgiving otherwise.”

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).