Board Chair, Mark Gorman with outgoing Board Chair, Dr. Susan Erstling | Photo Credit: Maria Fombellida.

On Wednesday, October 16th, Lucy’s Hearth, Newport County’s only shelter for homeless families, hosted its 8th Annual “Fall for Lucy’s Hearth” event in the USTA Wing at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The event raised nearly $85,000 which will directly support homeless children and their families to gain permanent housing. 

Co-chaired by Deborah Linnell, long term advisor to Lucy’s Hearth, and Todd Martin, CEO of International Tennis Hall of Fame, the event drew an audience of nearly 200 guests who sampled Russell Morin’s culinary delights and listened to Pat Cottrell’s musical performance. Sharing his love of Lucy’s Hearth, Martin stated, “Lucy’s Hearth is a spectacular organization that consistently provides much needed services to our neighbors. The work they do has a tremendous positive impact on our community. I was introduced to the organization by several International Tennis Hall of Fame staff who volunteer their time for Lucy’s. We are proud to continue that tradition of partnership, and to support the really important work that Lucy’s Hearth does for Aquidneck Island.” 

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Outgoing Board Chair, Dr. Susan Erstling, Todd Martin, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Rep. Deborah Ruggiero | Photo Credit: Maria Fombellida.

Linnell continued, “This community has always supported Lucy’s Hearth so deeply. This island is one of the most amazing places I have ever worked.” 

Lucy’s Hearth’s Board Chair Mark Gorman kicked off the program and Board Member Dr. Susan Erstling presented the Susan M. Wilson Volunteer of the Year award to long term volunteer, Rachel Cocroft, who donated graphic design services to Lucy’s Hearth. 

Rep. Deborah Ruggiero saluted Lucy’s Hearth’s outgoing Director, Jennifer Barrera, “Your passion and love has changed the lives of so many families. Best wishes and highest hopes for your continued success, Jenn.” Family Service of Rhode Island’s CEO Margaret Holland McDuff highly praised Barrera’s passion for the work and initiative to get things done. Barrera has been tapped for a statewide role to address the homeless crisis. 

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Guest speaker, Nicole Martin with outgoing Director, Jennifer Barrera  | Photo Credit: Maria Fombellida.

For more information on Lucy’s Hearth, visit


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