Rep. Marvin L. Abney, center, presents Executive Director Heather Hole Strout, left, and Director of Development Alyson Novick, right, with a $10 thousand legislative grant to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center of Newport

Rep. Marvin L. Abney (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) has secured an emergency $10,000 legislative grant to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center of Newport to aid residents who have been affected by the natural gas shut-off.

“The people of Newport County are going through tremendously tough times right now and we needed to act quickly to help our friends and neighbors who are without heat and food.  Knowing the severity of the situation impacting my constituents, I went to Speaker Mattiello and he without hesitation wanted to help.  On behalf of the MLK Center, I thank the Speaker for immediately approving and expediting this grant so that the center’s food supply can be restocked and those who rely upon the center for food will not go hungry,” said Representative Abney.

Founded in 1922 and renamed honoring Dr. King in 1968, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center is a central service provider for at-risk individuals, families and seniors. An independent nonprofit, the MLK Community Center fights hunger, promotes health, educates young and school-age kids, supports families, and engages seniors all across Newport County.

The legislative grant secured by Representative Abney will be used for the dozens of deliveries being made by the center’s mobile food pantry into neighborhoods where individuals lack transportation.  According to Alyson Novick, director of development for the center, there will be a major need to assist families to replenish food supplies in refrigerators after the power is restored to the households.   

“It is heartening to see so many different groups and agencies, private and public, step up to the plate and help our residents who are truly in need.  Everyone from the state to local small business owners and private citizens are lending a hand and I encourage anyone who is looking to help to please donate to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center of Newport.  This center is helping those affected by the gas shut-off, military families going without pay due to the federal shut-down, as well as the center’s normal clients.  Simply put, they are stretched too thin and their food supply is running dangerously low and it is up to all of us to help our fellow Rhode Islanders on Aquidneck Island in their time of need,” concluded Representative Abney.

In addition to the state grant, Representative Abney has secured an additional $15,000 in donations to assist the families.  At his request, Cox Communications has donated $10,000, to be split equally between the Martin Luther King Community Center and the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County, while the Rhode Island Beverage Association has donated $5,000 to the Newport Housing Authority.

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