Over an eleven-day period beginning December 27, 2017, Seamen’s Church Institute opened its doors to clients in need as an Overnight Warming Center for ten evenings.

This extended Warming Center is unprecedented in the history of Seamen’s, in the past, they have done no more than 3-4 nights, and not consecutively.  This monumental task was made possible by a fleet of dedicated volunteers, without whom Seamen’s says they would not have been able to offer this life-saving service.

Seamen’s had 42 volunteers participate, and serviced a total of 75 guests, 39 of whom took advantage of staying overnight.  They provided 375 cups of coffee, 225 dinners, 145 breakfasts, 82 free showers and 42 loads of laundry.  They also distributed coats, hats, gloves, clothing, and toiletries.

“We could not have done this without the dedication of our volunteers and the generous support of the community,” Leslie Streuli from Seamen’s Church Institute stated in an email.

Seamen’s Church Institute was formed in 1919 to “provide work for the moral and mental improvement exclusively of all of those who are employed upon or in connection with the sea in any part of the world or upon the inland waters of the United States, including men in the service of the United States…”.

In 1930, the daughters of RI Senator and Mrs. George Wetmore funded the construction of a prominent brick, Georgian-styled building in honor of their parents. This building was designed by Beaux-Arts trained architect Frederick Rhinelander King. In 1984, Seamen’s was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This landmark building is the only original structure remaining on Market Square and is one of the few buildings on the Newport waterfront still being used for its original purposes.

Almost 100 years after its founding, the organization continues to offer services and support to those working on the waterfront, to visiting and local mariners, and to those in need in the community.

Ever adapting to changes in a developing waterfront, SCI’s mission today is “to protect, preserve and enhance the maritime culture of Newport and Narragansett Bay by providing education, hospitality and a safe haven for those who work, live and play on or by the sea.”

The building is open 365 days a year from 7 am to 4 pm and serves approximately 50,000 people annually. For more information, visit https://seamensnewport.org/.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.