On Tuesday, February 26th, Representative Marvin L. Abney (Chairman, House Committee on Finance; Member, House Committee on Conduct; Member, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs) presented the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center (MLK) with a $10,000 legislative grant at a Mobile Food Pantry site visit. 

Chairman Abney has served the residents of Newport and Middletown in District 73 since November 2012. This legislative grant of $10,000 will support the MLK Center’s Hunger Services programs – specifically to stock both the MLK’s in-house and mobile food pantries.

“The Mobile Food Pantries and the Hunger Services programs that the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center run here in Newport County are crucial lifelines for so many in our community,” said Rep. Marvin L. Abney, Chairman of the House Finance Committee (D-Dist. 73, Newport, Middletown) in a statement. “It is a privilege to help support this very-worthy program through a legislative grant, and I know that these dollars will go a long way to help feed our friends and neighbors.  Seeing the wonderful work that the MLK’s compassionate and dedicated staff do on a daily basis, I urge everyone to support their mission so the Center can continue to help those in need.”

“As the need for Hunger Services in Newport County grows, so does the Hunger Services programming at the MLK,” said Heather Hole Strout, Executive Director of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in a statement. “Because we’re able to meet more people where they are – out in the community, all across Newport County – our need for support is greater than ever before. We’re so grateful to Chairman Abney for working to secure this generous legislative grant. Thanks to him and the legislature, the MLK can ensure any Newport County resident who needs it will have food, household items, and personal care items – delivered with dignity.” 

With the goal of increasing access to healthy food, the MLK piloted the Mobile Food Pantry program in 2018, bringing food, personal care, and household items to low-income housing complexes across Newport County, where lack of transportation is a common barrier. This state-of-the-art vehicle has refrigeration for perishables like meat, milk, and eggs, more storage for pantry items, and on-site data collection, and will allow the MLK to serve more people in the community. In 2019, 37 mobile pantry events were held in various locations throughout Newport County, serving 1,178 individuals from 707 families.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).