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.” 

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. 

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

For more information on Lucy’s Hearth, visit

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 -

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 and 401-662-1653.