The following was written and submitted by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.

Swing into Spring, in its 24th year, has always been an occasion to bring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center (MLK) supporters together to support a common mission: fighting hunger, promoting health, educating young and school aged children, supporting families, and engaging seniors across Newport County. The gala, scheduled to take place on Friday, April 24th at the Atlantic Resort at Wyndham Newport Hotel in Middletown, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The MLK Community Center thanks Swing into Spring sponsors and donors who have turned their support into emergency funding to support the Center’s COVID-19 response, including purchasing food, fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and supplies to keep the Food Pantry, Mobile Food Pantry, and Food2Friends grocery delivery programs up and running.

Since the crisis began, the MLK has remained open to provide daily breakfast and a modified food pantry three times per week, with a core group of full-time staff. Those in need can visit the pantry every 14 days. (The Center’s dedicated volunteers are not working now for their and staff’s safety.)  As of April 1st, the MLK has provided food to over 1,500 people in 13 business days; 330 of whom are new, first-time clients of the Center. To put that into broader context: the Center has served over 35% of the all the Hunger Services clients served in 2019, in just less than 3 weeks.

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The MLK Center will announce if Swing into Spring will be rescheduled at a later date. Virtual event options are being considered at this point. Changes will be communicated on Facebook, Instagram, and via email